With global action, we can create sustainable, legal and ethical fisheries
The ecological and economic security of our oceans is under serious threat as they become warmer, more acidic and more polluted. At the same time, illegal fishing continues to drive overfishing and human rights abuses.
The Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) today told the Our Ocean conference that we have the means to address these problems, and so ensure healthy oceans for future generations.
Steve Trent, EJF’s Executive Director said:
‘Today we have the technical and logistical tools. What is needed now is the political will and leadership to put these tools to work and build the regional and global collaborations that are so pressingly needed.’
Illegal fishing needs to be prioritised by governments, environmental organisations and fishing authorities. Some estimates suggest that illegal operators take 1 in every 4 fish caught. Local communities suffer from this as both food security and economic development is undermined. Legitimate fishers and seafood businesses are put at a harsh disadvantage and governments lose essential revenue from tax and trade.
Pirate fishing boats also engage in other crimes, including human trafficking and forced, bonded and slave labour to crew their boats.
As a global community, we already understand the challenges we face and, crucially, we have the tools to solve them.
EJF recommends the following actions need to be taken to end overfishing and illegal fishing, and the associated human rights abuses:
A global record of fishing vessels is needed immediately
Increased transparency in national, regional and global fisheries management regimes
Governments need to ratify and implement the Port State Measures Agreement
Better monitoring of vessels is needed, with identifiers compulsory on all ships and monitoring systems for all vessels over 12 meters required
We have the ability to bring about these changes. We need to ensure that political will is maintained so action today can save our oceans for our tomorrow.