Category: Environment

“Greening” Fisheries Could Calm Troubled Waters

Yet, despite the important role of fisheries in maintaining economic and social well-being, “fisheries around the world are being plundered or exploited at unsustainable rates,” said Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the UN Environment Program (UNEP). Speaking about the release of the UNEP’s Green Economy Report: A Preview, Steiner argued that the current fishing industry “is a failure in management of what will prove to be of monumental proportions unless addressed.” The report, scheduled for release later this year, argues that investment in “greening” the economy across a range of sectors – including agriculture, fisheries, and water – can drive global economic recovery and lead to future prosperity, job creation, and improved environmental conservation. Currently, some 52% of the world’s marine fisheries are fully exploited and producing at – or close to – their maximum limits. Another 28% of the world’s marine fisheries are categorized as overexploited, depleted, or recovering from depletion, thus producing less than their maximum potential. And when fisheries collapse, there is more than just the loss of fish life to worry about; livelihoods, communities, and entire economies are ruined. Though the current outlook on fisheries may be troubling, researchers say that all is not lost. According to the report, an $8 billion annual investment in rebuilding and “greening” the world’s fisheries could have a positive, and lasting, impact on the fishing industry worldwide. Researchers say this investment has the potential to both increase fish catches and generate $1.7 trillion in long-term economic returns over the next four decades. Some possible methods for “greening” fisheries highlighted in the report include providing job training in alternative jobs industries; reducing the size of fishing fleets to limit excess harvesting capacity; and providing additional funding for fishery management to expand marine protected areas.  

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