The FAO has released its report on the “State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2008” at the start of its Committee on Fisheries meeting. The report highlights the impacts of climate change on fisheries and the impacts of the fishing fleet on habitats and the climate.

 

The FAO has released its report on the “State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2008” at the start of its Committee on Fisheries meeting. The report highlights the impacts of climate change on fisheries and the impacts of the fishing fleet on habitats and the climate.

The report warns that the fishing sector will have to adapt to a changing climate, as it will change the distribution, size and productivity of several commercial species. This problem may also be further exacerbated through unpredictable changes in the food web, also caused by climate change. Fishermen must therefore adapt to a new situation, but they must also understand that healthy fish stocks are essential to ensure the resilience of fish species to environmental change.

Overfishing is still the most serious threat to the survival of marine species around the world. A reduction in fishing effort would enhance stock biomass and genetic diversity, making species more resilient to environmental threats, and ultimately lead to increased yields for the fishing sector.

Seas At Risk has been repeatedly pointing out that the most destructive fishing techniques, such as high seas bottom trawling, are also generally the most fuel consuming. Reducing this fleet or eliminating it completely would not only bring major benefits to habitats and species, but it would also considerably reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the fishing sector – thus mitigating climate change, which is also endangering the already depleted and vulnerable fish stocks around the world.

In spite of a United Nations General Assembly Resolution calling for action, the FAO report notes that little progress has been made to date to reduce the impacts of high seas bottom trawling (or even to regulate the activity). Seas At Risk and the Deep Sea Conservation Coalition (DSCC) will continue to promote strict protection of Vulnerable Marine Ecosystems against the impact of high seas bottom fisheries.

The FAO has also published its “Worldwide Review of Bottom Fisheries in the High Seas” which a contains the most up to date information on which States are fishing where, how many vessels are involved in bottom fisheries in the High Seas (in areas beyond national jurisdiction), which species are caught and in what amounts. In addition to that, it contains a review of the information on the status of fish stocks taken in deep-sea high seas bottom fisheries.

Seas At Risk has a seat at the FAO’s Committee on Fisheries (COFI) as an observer organisation since 2007.

FAO “State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2008” report

FAO “Worldwide Review of Bottom Fisheries in the High Seas”

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