What Is World Fisheries Day and Why Does it Matter?
Jan 01 2019 Read 4048 Times
World Fisheries Day is celebrated every 21st November and represents a chance to recognise the vast and sometimes underappreciated food source for millions of humans that is the sea. It’s also an opportunity to look back over the last 12 months and assess how well fishing efforts have performed in achieving goals of sustainability, as well as setting out plans for the coming year.
Last month, the Environmental Defence Fund (DFC) Oceans division took a look at some of the reasons for optimism surrounding fisheries across the globe. Despite the current climate change issues and myriad other challenges facing the fisheries industry (such as blue green algae, plastic pollution and oil spills), there are plenty of reasons to be cheerful - and here are just five of them.
Launch of investment guidelines
Earlier in 2018, the EDF teamed up with Encourage Capital and the Meloy Fund to launch their Principles for Investment in Sustainable Fisheries. The guidelines are aimed at investors who plough vast sums of money into the industry - but often with little thought as to how their money will affect sustainable stocks of fish in the future. The framework was launched at the World Ocean Summit and details all of the various factors investors should consider when choosing where to place their money.
Fish stock regeneration is possible
EDF undertook extensive new research which has demonstrated that warming of global waters is likely to disrupt all manner of marine populations, having an adverse impact on fisheries all over the globe. However, by following the guidelines mentioned above and creating sustainable conditions in fisheries, as well as working to fulfil obligations to Paris climate summit and reduce our carbon footprint as much as possible, we can mitigate the worst of these effects. Indeed, the research revealed that when properly managed, there is no reason fisheries cannot thrive now and in the future.
Abundance of fish will help coral reefs recover
Coral reefs all over the world suffered dramatic consequences as result of warmer oceanic temperatures, leading to coral bleaching and a massive loss of biodiversity. At the same time, reefs are also threatened by microplastic pollution, with over 11 billion individual pieces of plastic present on reefs in the Asia-Pacific zone alone. Worse still, that figure is only expected to increase in the future, meaning our precious corals are under serious threat. Fortunately, the regeneration of fish stocks mentioned above could offset the worst impacts of those threats and give the reefs a much-needed boost.
Indonesian blue swimming crab now protected
Fishing represents an important industry for Indonesia, with blue swimming crabs bringing in around £237 million every year on its own. This year, the Province of Lampung committed to a sustainable management plan to safeguard up to 230 square miles of coastal areas which the crabs use as a breeding ground, while also requiring individual fishers to sign up to sustainable practices and refrain from using equipment which could damage other marine life. Through Indonesia’s forward-thinking example, it’s hoped other countries may sign up to similar schemes.
Fishing grounds reopened
Elsewhere, the western coast of the United States also had positive news to report in 2018. After the closure of approximately 2,739 square miles of ocean habitat in 2011, local authorities have now deemed that the stocks have been sufficiently replenished to allow them to reopen. What’s more, a further 136,000 miles of habitat have now been permanently safeguarded under a new scheme which will create complete accountability for fishers in the area, discouraging them from targeting at-risk species and securing their longevity for future generations to enjoy.
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