Report sparks fresh warnings on overfishing

Global overfishingA new report shows the vast majority of fisheries around the world are maxed out and WWF International has warned that our ever-growing dependence on fish needs to be a priority on the policy agenda.

The latest State of the World’s Fisheries and Aquaculture report (SOFIA 2012) by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that in 2009, 57 percent of marine fisheries were fully exploited, while 30 percent of all assessed marine stocks were over-exploited.

The report shows that fisheries- related employment supports the livelihoods of 10-12 percent of the world’s population (660-820 million people), with 4.3 billion people depending on fish to provide about 15 percent of their animal derived protein.

 “With such dependency on fish meeting a rapidly growing population, we simply cannot sustain a situation where 87 percent of global marine fisheries are at or above full exploitation,” said Alfred Schumm, leader of WWF’s global smart fishing initiative.

“Using the precautionary approach, a holistic suite of ecosystem and science-based measures must be adopted if we are to realise the clear economic, environmental and social benefits of sustainably managed fisheries,” added Schumm.

WWF is currently aiming to establish a Financial Institution for the Recovery of Marine  Ecosystems (FIRME), an investment   model   that   finances   conservation   without adversely impacting livelihoods.