If we continue fishing in coming decades have we have for the past century, the resources in our oceans will be depleted within a few generations. Fortunately, there are many organizations working to transform ocean fishing practices. Here is our pick of the top five:
As one of the best-known fishing certification systems, MSC provides consumers an assurance that the fish they buy is caught in a sustainable way. The certifications are awarded to fisheries where fishing practices are at a level that can continue indefinitely, will not cause harm to the existing ecosystem balance, and comply with relevant legislation.
Besides the food label, MSC provides a wealth of inpiring information on sustainable fishing practices, tasty recipes that feature, of course, certified fish, and much more.
Maritime ecosystems are complex, characterized by countless interdependencies. It requires a lot of scientific research and testing to create an effective sustainable fishery. The SFG is a team of maritime experts that research fisheries management all over the world. On its well-organized site, the group shares its newest findings, and posts updates on current projects, from assessing the status of previously unstudied fisheries, to looking at pathways to “rights-based fisheries.” This is a great source of information if you want to get a taste of the latest research, challenges and solutions for more sustainable fishing.
Although similar to the Sustainable Fisheries Group in its global scope and research focus, the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership works a bit differently by engaging directly with small-scale producers, companies and scientists to improve the fishing industry. SFP also offers comprehensive analyses on specific fisheries. See for example the group’s reports on the Asian shrimp sector, the snapper and grouper industry, or best practices in tuna longline fisheries.
The United Nations Ocean Conference is the world’s first UN summit about the seas, but other important conferences are happening all the time. The “Our Oceans” conference series is among the prominent. Sweden, the United States, Canada, Thailand, Morocco, Australia, Colombia, Malaysia, Costa Rica, Norway, and other nations have sponsored the events. At the latest, held in September 2016, participants announced over 136 initiatives, many concerned with sustainable fisheries management.
The coolest thing on the website: a world map that shows the location and description of every commitment made during the conference. This is a good place to get an overview of who is doing what on fisheries management on the global scale.
The next “Our Oceans” conference will be held in Malta in October.
It’s a wonderful thing that international cooperation on managing the world’s fisheries is growing. But how can we ensure accountability, so that fishermen stick to the rules (voluntary or regulatory) and don’t fish more than they are allowed? Global Fishing Watch, a joint project of Oceana, Google and SkyTruth, lets anyone with an internet connection volunteer to help solve that problem. After signing up, visitors can check a world map with data from global fisheries dating from 2012 to the most current available — some it just days old — collected by monitoring the satellite data transmitted by the world’s largest commercial fishing vessels. This is a great tool for learning where fishing takes place, plus it serves as an efficient, crowdsourced method for assessing the success of sustainable fishing policies. Can you ?