Welcome to Sustainable Fisheries

Is a Fisheries Apocalpyse Imminent?

Niels Daan and three colleagues have published a new paper challenging prophecies that an apocalyse in world fisheries is  imminent  (Available here) The prediction by Worm et al. (2006) that by 2048 all commercially exploited stocks will have collapsed through continuing overexploitation became a focal point for public and media concern about the state of world fisheries. Indeed it received saturation media coverage around the world and is still widely cited as reflecting the status of world fisheries. Several fundamental objections have been raised against the methods underlying this prediction. In 2009, Worms collaborated with some of his critics in a substantial revision in  the interpretation of stock-status development  (Worm et al., 2009). Daan et al (2011) have added their voices to the criticism of the methodology of the original analysis. They concluded that the method is both technically and conceptually flawed, and that any predictions derived from it represent flawed prophecies.

TAGS: fisheries, apocalyse, sustainable, overfishing, Boris Worms, Niels Daan

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EU Common Fisheries Policy Reform/Panacea or Fantasy

In mid-July the EU announced its long-awaited proposals for reforming the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). It has acknowledged that previous policy efforts have been a failure. Critics have been urging a more conservation-based focus while industry spokesmen wanted change as long as it didn't affect them adversely. According to Commissioner Maria Damanaki changes were needed because scientific models suggested that only eight of 136 fish stocks in European Union waters would be at sustainable levels in 2022 if no action were taken. One of the fundamental changes is the introduction of tradable fishing rights, which would be imposed at the national rather than the European Union level. In theory this would put responsibility for safeguarding fish stocks with the industry and help reduce overcapacity. She also addressed another thorny issue, discarding. All fish would now be landed and counted against quotas. But there were no proposals to to directly reduce the tremendous overcapacity in the European fleet. NGOs have questioned whether the tradeable fishing rights will help reduce capacity and the fishing industry is divided with small boat owners generally opposed. More here

TAGS: EU, fisheries, sustainable, overfishing, Common Fisheries Policy Reform, Commissioner Maria Damanaki , tradeable fishing rights, individual quotas

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Fishing: Less for More

Paying fishermen to fish doesn't pay. That's the conclusion of a report just out which looks at how profitable European fisheries would have been over the last 20-odd years without subsidies, and compares those numbers against what actually happened. (The report is available here ) Although the North Sea is the focus, the conclusions may well be applicable everywhere. Subsidising fishermen means they continue fishing even after stocks begin to plummet, because a substantial share of their income is now coming from the subsidy rather than from profits on fishing.Fisheries become more profitable when subsidies are removed. Despite increasing profitability when subsidies are removed, total revenue to the fishery decrease since they are no longer receiving financial transfers from the government.

TAGS: fisheries, sustainable, fisheries subsidies, negative effects

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Is the B.C Salmon Inquiry a Waste of Money?

In three columns over the past week, Postmedia's Christie Blachford reported on the proceedings of the Commission of Inquiry into the Fraser River Sockeye Salmon. The salmon returned last year in record numbers  but the commercial fishery was completely shuttered for six of the previous 10 years, including three consecutive years starting in 2007. In a pointed comment on the failure of Commission lawyers to ask witnesses probing or meaningful questions, she observed: "While it is early days yet to pronounce any sort of judgment – the Commission recently received a 13-month extension, and another $11-million in public funds for a total of about $25-million, and won’t produce its final report for another year— it’s hard to say if it will in the end do what it’s supposed to, that is, determine and actually name the causes of the decline of the fishery."

Her opinion of the proceedings to date was summed up brilliantly: " If the famously missing sockeye salmon of the Fraser River weren’t already so often M.I.A., the temptation would be to imagine they had sat in on the proceedings of the Cohen Commission of Inquiry, and then simply done the decent thing and hanged themselves en masse."

Her scathing critique of the Commission seems warranted based on its milquetost approach to the issue so far.

TAGS: Fraser salmon sockeye, B.C. Salmon Inquiry, suatainable, fisheries, missing salmon, Christie Blatchford, waste of money

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No fish left on the plate/EU

The  Fish of the Future Group recently organized the Conference "No fish left on the plate - why a radical reform of the Common Fisheries Policy is needed".   Maria Damanaki ,European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, outlined the findings from a modelling exercise conducted to study the impact of different reform scenarios on EU fisheries by 2022. Under best case assumptions on the scenario of the current path, only 9% of the EU fish stocks would be exploited sustainably and fleet size would shrink by 15% with the associated loss of employment and social impacts. She calls for a "move away from half-measures, and last-minute crises management toward a long-term, proactive CFP".

Meanwhile Mrs.Damanaki  also gave a speech to EU Fisheries Ministers, presenting the Commissions Communication on 2012 fishing TACs and quotas. She pointed out that too many stocks are still overfished, and too many stocks are being fished in ignorance of their biological state. She indicated that lack of scientific knowledge should no longer be considered as a justification for the status quo. At the same time 30% to 40% of fishing fleets are making insufficient money for to be economically sustainable. She called for renewed efforts to reach Maximum Sustainable Yields on fish stocks by 2015, by linking decisions more closely to scientific advice and reduce fishing of stocks by 25% where the advice is not available (applying the precautionary approach).
(Seems to me I've heard all this before from the EU.)

TAGS: EU, sustainable, fisheries, overfishing, Maria Damanaki, Fish of the Future Group, Common Fisheries Policy,



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