Well I just recieved a copy of the International Sustainability Unit’s (ISU) report: “Toward Global Sustainable Fisheries: The Opportunity for Transition”
It is a comprehensive high level report. While I may not agree with everything in this report – overall it has messages that bring the debate and whether sustainable fisheries are real and attainable, forward.
The report above is the result of the ISU’s new Marine Ecosystem workstream. The ISU is one of the Prince’s Charities (Prince Charles that is). The Marine Ecosystem workstream (which produced the above Toward Global Sustainable Fisheries report) was initiated to help strengthen consensus around the best solutions for the sustainable management of wild marine fish stocks, and to catalyse action in pursuit of these through partnerships between the public sector, the fishing industry, the wider private sector and NGOs.
You can find a copy of the Report here – Toward Global Sustainable Fisheries: The Opportunity for Transition.
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?
Well the growing pressure on marine capture fisheries arising from the expanding human population and increased demand for seafood, is stimulating more intense fishing pressure, which in turn has caused a decline in the productivity of many fish stocks:
“According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), 32% of fish stocks are now overexploited, depleted or recovering from depletion, and this figure is rising every year. As a result, wild fish is providing less food and income and supporting fewer livelihoods than it could do… Fisheries contribute approximately US$274 billion to global GDP. They are on the whole currently an underperforming asset, however. The World Bank estimates that if fish stocks were managed optimally they co.uld deliver an additional $50 billion in value each year. On top of the economic opportunity are the many social benefits that flow from sustainably managed fish stocks, including in the form of jobs and livelihoods. Directly and indirectly, fisheries provide employment for hundreds of millions of people. The vast majority of these are in developing countries, where the sector often plays a key role in preventing and reducing poverty. Only sustainably managed fish stocks can ensure the viability of these livelihoods and, following recovery, generate more employment in the long-term. Fish is a renewable and healthy food source which currently supplies one billion people with their main source of protein, again with the majority in developing countries”
As this animated map from a WWF study shows – the increase in pressure on global fish stocks from 1950 is real. This graphic also clearly shows that European Union fishing fleets have expanded beyond European waters exploiting new fishing ground since 1980 further increasing the pressure on fish stocks.
For those of you who are interested – I have included the link to the Sea Around Us Project Report, “Spatial Expansion by EU and non-EU fishing fleets into the global ocean – 1950 to the Present” – Januart 2012.
This report was the result of comprehensive global consultation – where ISU delegates travelled the globe consulting with governments, eNGOs and fishing companies, looking not only for evidence of the bad – but also for evidence of the good. I was lucky enough to be involved in one of the consulative meetings in New Zealand – and I found the discussion was frank, progressive and solutions based.
I have included a link to the ISU Consultative Document – “Transitioning to sustainable and resilient fisheries: more fish, more profits, more jobs“
Also for those who just love reading this stuff like I do:
I have included a link to the the report by Charlotte Tindall, “Fisheries in Transition: Fifty interviews with the fishing sector” and if you want to see them by map click there?
The Report identifies various key steps that could be taken to achieve more sustainable management and ensure a resilient and plentiful supply of fish stocks for the future, which include(see http://www.princeofwales.gov.uk/mediacentre/pressreleases/):
“improved scientific data collection on fish stocks and the impact of fishing on marine ecosystems; identifying examples of sustainable fisheries management in order to encourage others to follow suit; developing new mechanisms to finance the wider adoption of sustainable fisheries management; and, involving the private sector more in supporting fisheries improvement projects.”
It is very refreshing to see an eNGO with international standing take this position, one that directly counters the negative anti-fishing rhetoric we have been accustomed to hearing from most of the other environmental eNGOs and actively promotes sustainable fishing and sustaianble marine environments so that humans can continue to recieve the benefit of the bounty of the sea.
The uptake so far has been positive (For example see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-16875215).