Sustainable Fishing

Individuals, Local, National and International Policymakers

We are taking far more fish out of the ocean than can be replaced by those remaining. If this massive overfishing continues, stocks of species currently fished for food will soon collapse. We need to address this problem immediately.

We can all help by buying sustainable seafood. By purchasing Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)-certified seafood products, consumers, retailers, and traders are helping to encourage and reward responsible fisheries.

We need to better manage our fisheries. Some of the solutions proposed include:
– Proper Fisheries Regulations: National governments and the EU need to ensure robust regulations.
– Implementation and Enforcement of Fisheries Regulations: Governments need to ensure that adequate resources are given to help police the seas and regulate the retail sector.
– Transparency and Traceability: Customs agencies and retailers need to ensure that the fish entering their country and shops is caught legally and in a sustainable way.
– Following Scientific Advice: Fisheries management bodies should heed scientific advice on fish quotas and not set catch limits above the recommended maximum amount
– Inspect Flag of Convenience (FoC) Vessels: Countries need to restrict fishing companies from owning and operating FoC vessels and rigorously inspect FoC vessels landing at their ports. Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing needs to be stopped.
– Create More ‘No-go Areas’ for Fishing: Protected areas and no-take zones, where fishing is banned or strictly regulated, can provide essential safe havens where young fish can grow to maturity and reproduce before they are caught.
– Stopping Unnecessary Subsidies: State aid that keeps too many boats on the water need to be ended.
– Ending Destructive Fishing Practices: Some fishing practices such as bottom trawling are extremely destructive to delicate habitats – particularly vital fish breeding grounds like coral reefs – and should be stopped.
– Fair Fisheries Agreements: Some international agreements between developed and developing countries have been unfair by contributing to overfishing and depriving poor local fishermen of food.
Marine Stewardship Council, London, UK
Ocean Conservancy, Washington DC, USA

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