Stationary trap net fishing in the Sakhalin salmon fishery. (Photo: Wild Salmon Center/ISU)
Prince of Wales pushes for improved sustainability practices
Monday, February 06, 2012, 00:30 (GMT + 9)
The Prince of Wales has warned that measures must be taken urgently to boost sustainable management of fish stocks. At the same time, Prince Charles sees reason to be optimistic about the future.
"The story today need no longer be one of doom and gloom and inevitable decline, but one that harbours the possibility of generating more value from a strongly performing natural asset. This potential can only be tapped if we manage it well", he stated.
|Fishing vessel in New Zealand waters. (Photo: J.Peacey/MRAG)
He believes necessary moves include adopting more sustainable management practices will allow for larger catches at sea, healthier marine ecosystems and jobs in the industry in the long-term, Earth Times reports.
Conversely, inaction will bring irreversibly worsening conditions.
The Prince's comments followed the release of the Marine Programme report, Towards Global Sustainable Fisheries: The Opportunity for Transition, by his International Sustainability Unit (ISU).
Across the globe, fisheries contribute some USD 275 billion to the economy according to the World Bank, and USD 50 billion more could be added if management improvements are implemented. This concept is highlighted in interviews with fishery chiefs in the report, which talks about how their businesses have improved as their practices have become increasingly sustainable.
Instead, the ISU discovered that subsidies often make things worse: they are sometimes used to encourage the construction of more vessels when fish stocks are already depleted. If this financing went to pay for top quality fisheries research or enforcement against illegal fishing, the lost economic value of fisheries could be regained, the Huffington Post reports.
The ISU's Marine Programme seeks to help develop a global agreement about best practices for fisheries and see it put into practice across the board.
The report pushes for the adoption of three core principles -- managing fisheries for the benefit of the whole marine ecosystem, shifting the economics of fishing by rewarding positive practices and regulating and applying fishing regulations.
It recommends key steps such as gathering better scientific data on fish stocks and the impact fishing has on marine ecosystems; identifying examples of sustainable fisheries management and encouraging other areas to follow them; creating new ways to fund the wider adoption of sustainable fisheries management; and involving the private sector more in supporting fisheries improvement schemes.
|Swarms of anthias fish shelter near coral. (Photo: Cat Holloway/ WWF-Cannon)
"The automatic preconception that most people have is that sustainability is about taking less”, said Tony Juniper, special adviser to the ISU, The Telegraph reports. "What we have found, in fact, is that if fisheries were managed optimally then we could be taking more. The key to it is how you get the economics lined up.”
The report was published after two years of consultation with the public, private and scientific sectors and NGOs.
The Prince of Wales established the ISU to help develop consensus on how to tackle crucial environmental global challenges such as food security, the resilience of the ecosystem and the depletion of natural capital. The ISU collaborates with governments, the private sector and NGOs to address these challenges.
By Natalia Real