Fisheries

Written by  //  August 6, 2012  //  Agriculture & Food, Sustainable Development  //  No comments

The End of the Line
(Babelgum) Endorsed by and with major marketing support from National Geographic, Greenpeace and the Waitt Family Foundation,The End of the Line is the first major feature documentary film revealing the impact of overfishing on our oceans. Narrated by Ted Danson and described as ‘The inconvenient truth about the impact of over-fishing on the oceans’, The End of the Line had its world première at the Sundance Film Festival (January 15-25, 2009) in the World Cinema Documentary competition. The film is based on the book by Charles Clover and directed by Sundance veteran Rupert Murray.
Marine Stewardship Council: The MSC has developed standards for sustainable fishing and seafood traceability.
World Resources Institute Decline in fish stocks

The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2012
In addition to striving to meet the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, the global community is also grappling with other pressing and complex challenges such as the widespread economic crisis and the effects of climate change

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Ocean acidification could disrupt marine food chains
(Planet Ark) Ocean acidification caused by climate change is making it harder for creatures from clams to sea urchins to grow their shells, and the trend is likely to be felt most in polar regions, scientists said on Monday.
A thinning of the protective cases of mussels, oysters, lobsters and crabs is likely to disrupt marine food chains by making the creatures more vulnerable to predators, which could reduce human sources of seafood.
Human emissions of greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels, and some of that carbon dioxide ends up in the oceans, where it dissolves to form acid.
The ocean acidification makes it harder for creatures to extract calcium carbonate – vital to grow skeletons and shells – especially from chill waters in the Arctic Ocean and around Antarctica, according to the study in the journal Global Change Biology.
Japan could drive sustainable seafood in Asia
A campaign to persuade Japanese to buy sustainably harvested seafood could have a significant impact on the longevity of world’s fish stocks, more than 80% of which are “fully exploited, over-exploited, or recovering,” according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. Japan is the world leader in seafood imports and accounts for 6% of global consumption each year. Yale Environment 360 (7/19)
13 July
George Monbiot: For Those Who Love Life
The people cutting open bluefin tuna nets are heroes
Largest marine preserve announced before Rio+20
Australia will create the largest network of protected marine zones in the world, the government announced before the Rio+20 summit on sustainable development. The expansion, which the Australian fishing industry has opposed, brings the country’s total protected ocean zones to 3.1 million square kilometers. The Epoch Times (6/15)
14 June
Governments make ‘pitiful’ progress on oceans
(BBC) Little has been done to protect marine life since the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, conservation scientists conclude. On pledges to protect key habitat and restrict the size of fishing fleets, they say progress has been “pitiful”.
Their analysis is carried in the journal Science and is being discussed during final preparations for the Rio+20 summit, which opens next week
16 May
Annual NOAA report shows a record number of rebuilt fisheries
A record six fish populations were declared rebuilt to healthy levels in 2011, bringing the number of rebuilt U.S. marine fish populations in the last 11 years to 27, according to a report to Congress out today from NOAA’s Fisheries Service. This report documents historic progress toward ending overfishing and rebuilding our nation’s fisheries, due to the commitment of fishermen, fishing communities, non-governmental organizations, scientists, and managers.
27 January
Fishing’s global footprint
(BBC) I’m not sure whether logically you can have such a thing as a footprint in water… but if you can, then the footprints of human fishermen now cover much more of the world’s oceans than half a century ago.
In a WWF-commissioned report out this week, the spread is documented graphically.
The authors, based at the University of British Columbia in Canada, use the concept of “primary production required” (PPR) to illustrate the spread.
A report commissioned by environmental group WWF shows the expansion in fishing since 1950.
(BBC) It is illustrated in this animation, which shows how fishing has spread across the oceans.
The colours refer to “primary production required” (PPR) – the percentage of the total solar energy captured and used by living things through photosynthesis, that goes towards the fish humans catch and eat.
The light blue areas indicate the lowest levels, with orange and red areas having respectively larger PPRs.
Industrial fishing is likely to feature as a major issue at this June’s Rio+20 summit in Brazil. See also Fishing’s global footprint
25 January
Fishing: Reform must protect all the world’s oceans – says WWF
(WWF) New rules are urgently needed to ensure all UK and other EU-flagged fishing boats operating in waters outside of Europe, are operating in a sustainable way and to the same standards as they would back home, said WWF-UK

2011

8 August
George Monbiot Mutually Assured Depletion
The EU, Norway, Iceland and the Faroes all blame each other for smashing the last great fish stock. All are wrong.
… Almost everywhere, fish stocks are collapsing through catastrophic mismanagement. But no one in the rich world has managed them as badly as the European Union.
So when the EU tells Iceland and the Faroes that they should engage in “responsible, modern fisheries management”(1), it’s like being lectured by Atilla the Hun on human rights. They could be forgiven for telling us to sod off until we’ve cleaned up our own mess. Unfortunately, this is just what they’ve done, with catastrophic results.
29 June
Warmer Lake Tanganyika threatens East African fisheries
The warming of Lake Tanganyika over the past century has made the lake less productive — posing a serious threat to fisheries, according to a study.
The lake temperatures reached their highest levels in the past few decades, said the authors, something that can be attributed to anthropogenic climate change.
Although it was known that the lake’s temperature has risen in the last century and also that productivity has dropped, this study links the two and shows that the temperature rise is unprecedented over the long term.
George Monbiot: Mutually Assured Depletion
The EU, Norway, Iceland and the Faroes all blame each other for smashing the last great fish stock. All are wrong.
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a year, after which no one will ever eat fish again. Almost everywhere, fish stocks are collapsing through catastrophic mismanagement. But no one in the rich world has managed them as badly as the European Union.
So when the EU tells Iceland and the Faroes that they should engage in “responsible, modern fisheries management”(1), it’s like being lectured by Atilla the Hun on human rights. They could be forgiven for telling us to sod off until we’ve cleaned up our own mess. Unfortunately, this is just what they’ve done, with catastrophic results.

2010

Acidic oceans are a threat to food sources, biodiversity
Climate change is responsible for the fastest rate of change in ocean chemistry in 65 million years, a new UN report says. Specifically, acidification of the water is endangering the survival of shellfish and coral, which could have far-ranging effects on marine biodiversity and food security. CNN (12/2)
Fundamental marine food link is disappearing

Global mass of phytoplankton — a fundamental base of the marine food chain — is shrinking by 1% every year and has declined 40% since 1950, a study published in the journal Nature warns. Researchers say the steady disappearance of phytoplankton will result in contractions along the marine food chain and could accelerate the extinction of endangered species. Der Spiegel (Germany) (English online version) (7/29)
22 July
New NASA image reveals the oceans’ dead zones
(07/22/2010) A new image by NASA reveals the extent of the world’s marine dead zones, which a study in 2008 found were doubling every decade. At that time 415 dead zones had been identified worldwide. Dead zones are regions of the ocean where dissolved oxygen has fallen to such low levels that most marine species can no longer survive. Such conditions are often seasonal.
28 June
Warmer Lake Tanganyika threatens East African fisheries
(SciDevNet) Lake Tanganyika is one of the oldest lakes in the world and the second largest, supporting a 200,000 tonne-a-year sardine fishery. Fish from the lake are a major source of animal protein for populations in the countries bordering the lake — Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania and Zambia — and provide employment for around one million people. Link to study
16 May
Africa’s lake Tanganyika warming fast, life dying
(Reuters) – Africa’s lake Tanganyika has heated up sharply over the past 90 years and is now warmer than at any time for at least 1,500 years, a scientific paper said on Sunday, adding that fish and wildlife are threatened. … the paper admits that other factors, like overfishing, may be doing more harm than any warming.
2 March
Collapse of World Fisheries: Species of Marine Animals are Disappearing
(Suite101) Industrial-scale fishing began in the 1950s, and the catches quickly increased. The size of the ocean harvest levelled off between 1980 and 2000 and has since been in decline. In November 2006, the magazine Science published an article by 14 fishery experts. They predicted a “global collapse” of ocean biodiversity due to over-fishing; all species currently fished, they said, would be gone by 2048.
Researchers working on the Census of Marine Life have been looking at historical documents; they are trying to discover how the populations of fish and marine mammals have changed over several centuries. What they’ve found is disturbing.
Among the documents the research team uncovered was one from Sicily in 1153. It describes the North Atlantic as having “animals of such great size that the inhabitants of the islands use their bones and vertebrae in place of wood to build houses.” British documents from the 17th and 18th centuries speak of huge pods of blue whales, orcas, and sharks turning the waters off Cornwall dark with their mass.

2009

25 December
B.C. salmon fishery’s decade of decline
(Globe & Mail) In 10 years, the Fraser River’s fish stocks have plummeted. A look at the precarious state of the salmon fishery
‘Sobering’ Decline Of Caribbean’s Big Fish, Fisheries: Overfishing Deemed Most Likely Cause
ScienceDaily (May 6, 2009) — Sharks, barracuda and other large predatory fishes disappear on Caribbean coral reefs as human populations rise, endangering the region’s marine food web and ultimately its reefs and fisheries, according to a sweeping study by researcher Chris Stallings of The Florida State University Coastal and Marine Laboratory.

2008

October
World Fisheries Waste $50 Billion as Stocks Decline, UN Says
(Bloomberg) — The world’s fishing fleets are wasting $50 billion a year due to poor management, over-capacity and over-fishing, according to a report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Bank.
The damage to fish stocks through over-fishing has resulted in larger fleets chasing fewer resources, the report [The Sunken Billions: The Economic Justification for Fisheries Reform] said. The waste amounts to 63 percent of the $80 billion worth of fish caught each year, the UN said in a summary of the report.
18 September
A solution to worldwide fishery collapse?
(MongaBay) The study, “Can Catch Shares Prevent Fisheries Collapse?“, proves that a controversial management strategy for fisheries called “catch shares” may be the answer for preserving fish stocks. As opposed to “open access” fisheries—the normal catch-all-you-can system—the catch share initiative grants each fishermen a fixed percentage of the fishery’s total allowable catch. Such shares can be bought and sold like stock in a corporation. As the fish population recovers and the total allowable catch is raised, the price of each share goes up. Instead of simply catching fish from one day to the next, catch shares are built to make shareholders keep a constant eye on the future health of the fish population.
3 April
Ocean dead zones have nearly quadrupled since 1994
(MongaBay) Coastal areas worldwide are suffering from over-enrichment of their waters by nitrogen and phosphorus, finds a new study from the World Resources Institute (WRI). This over-enrichment, known as eutrophication, causes numerous environmental problems, eventually devastating coastal environments. In overly nutrient-rich waters phytoplankton, micro- and macroalgae grow to excessive portions; these ‘algal blooms’ diminish subaquatic vegetation, damage coral reefs, and deplete populations of fish, shellfish, marine mammals, and sea birds. In the worst case scenarios the massive algal blooms form hypoxic or dead zones due to loss of oxygen in the water, essentially condemning the ecosystem.

November 2006
‘Only 50 years left’ for sea fish
(BBC) There will be virtually nothing left to fish from the seas by the middle of the century if current trends continue, according to a major scientific study.
Stocks have collapsed in nearly one-third of sea fisheries, and the rate of decline is accelerating.
Protecting stocks demands the political will to act on scientific advice – something which Boris Worm finds lacking in Europe, where politicians have ignored recommendations to halt the iconic North Sea cod fishery year after year.
Without a ban, scientists fear the North Sea stocks could follow the Grand Banks cod of eastern Canada into apparently terminal decline.
“You have scientific consensus and nothing moves. It’s a sad example; and what happened in Canada should be such a warning, because now it’s collapsed it’s not coming back.” (Greenpeace archive) CANADIAN ATLANTIC FISHERIES COLLAPSE

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