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The report says that where good fisheries management policies have been introduced - involving stock assessments, catch limits, and enforcement

UN report highlights growth in MSC certified fisheries and says sustainable fishing helps maintain biodiversity in the oceans

UNITED NATIONS
Thursday, September 17, 2020, 04:00 (GMT + 9)

The UN’s Global Biodiversity Outlook 5 reports on the progress towards the Aichi Biodiversity Targets (2010-2020) [1] and outlines seven transitions needed to reach 2030 goals and the agreed vision for 2050: ‘Living in harmony with nature’.

The report says that where good fisheries management policies have been introduced - involving stock assessments, catch limits, and enforcement - the abundance of marine fish stocks has been maintained or rebuilt. It also notes that sustainable fisheries are dependent on healthy ocean ecosystems, highlighting growth in fisheries certified to the MSC’s globally recognised standard for sustainable fishing as progress towards achieving the Aichi targets and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 14 “Life Below Water”.

The Marine Stewardship Council’s Chief Science and Standards Officer, Rohan Currey, said:

“The oceans are home to an extraordinary diversity of life and constitute more than 90% of the habitable space on the planet. The loss of species and habitats highlighted in the UN report on biodiversity not only impact the survival of other species, but of humans too – billions of people rely on seafood as their main source of protein.

“There is hope. Across the globe, fisheries large and small are demonstrating it is possible to be more productive and profitable by maintaining healthy fish stocks, minimising impacts on marine ecosystems and following good management systems by meeting the criteria we set for sustainable fisheries.


Photo: MSC

“Today, more than 15% of global catch is certified to the MSC Standard, and we have set an ambitious target to have more than a third of landings engaged in the MSC program by 2030. MSC certification recognises fisheries performance consistent with many of the Aichi biodiversity targets and, while progress takes time, there are great examples of progress and innovation.

Photo: MSC

“Making fishing sustainable can be achieved through broad commitments and leadership from organisations across the fishing, retail, government, conservation and science communities. We have already achieved so much together - now is the time to redouble our efforts to end overfishing and its negative impact on biodiversity.”


[1] Actions to address the rapid decline of biodiversity around the globe were agreed by world leaders in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. An international treaty, the Convention of Biological Diversity was ratified by 196 countries. The aim of the convention was to stop the massive decline of biodiversity through sustainable and fair use of natural resources. In 2010, five strategic goals and 20 targets – known as the Aichi Biodiversity Targets -- were set to help slow the decline. Aichi targets and progress relevant to fisheries are: -

Target 3 - overall, little progress has been made over the past decade in eliminating, phasing out or reforming subsidies and other incentives potentially harmful to biodiversity.  In 2018, $10 billion was spent on subsidies promoting sustainable fisheries, while $22 billion was spent on subsidies linked to overfishing by expanding national fleets.

Target 6 - sustainable management and harvesting of fish has “made good progress”, with 37% of countries either on track to meet or exceed their national targets. However, a third of marine fish stocks are overfished, a higher proportion than ten years ago. Many fisheries are still causing unsustainable levels of bycatch of non-target species and are damaging marine habitat.

Target 10 - 95% of countries reporting data for the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Code of Conduct are acting to prevent impacts on endangered species and prohibiting destructive fishing practices. However, more information is needing to understand how effective these measures are. Overfishing, nutrient pollution and coastal development compound the effects of coral bleaching.


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