November 21st marks World Fisheries Day. Total world fish production is expected to reach 201m tonnes by 2030—a growth of 18% from 2016. Yet one third of global fish stocks are being exploited at unsustainable levels, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation.
At the World Ocean Initiative (WOI) we are focusing on the blue economy: harnessing marine ocean resources for long-term economic development and social prosperity while protecting the environment in perpetuity. Fishing is an important part of the blue economy, and the WOI reports regularly on the need for sustainable fishing.
Pulitzer prize winning journalist Ian Urbina has told the World Ocean Initiative about his five-year investigation on the high seas that revealed abuses including illegal fishing, arms trafficking, slavery, murder and theft. His book, The Outlaw Ocean, makes the case for improving governance to protect human rights and the environment.
We have also looked at how the European Union’s long-running failure to heed the advice of its own scientists when setting fishing quotas is bringing stocks of some species to the brink of collapse. Meanwhile, some European supermarkets appear to be sourcing farmed salmon and prawns raised on fishmeal that is taking food out of the mouths of people in developing countries.
Overfishing is not just an environmental problem—it poses serious financial and reputational risks to seafood companies and to the investors and credit providers who finance them, as a guest blog for WOI shows.
At the World Ocean Summit 2020, we will discuss solutions to the problems of unsustainable and illegal fishing.