It has been estimated by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation that over 70% of the world’s fish stocks are either fully exploited or depleted. 

What Can Be Done?

  • Properly maintained fisheries could and should be a renewable and possibly even endless supply of protein. At present, short-term economic pressures are preventing sensible long-term planning for a sustainable yield (only taking out as many fish as can be replaced by reproduction the following year.)
  • Quotas should be set on catches, based on scientific estimates for the size of the fish stock. Correct mesh size should be used in all nets to ensure that fish of the right age are caught, and to prevent as much as possible accidental catches of other fish. International agreements limiting catches are necessary to safeguard fish stocks for the use not only of humans but for marine animals as well. With these measures in place, fishing could continue without damaging stocks, and we could employ the world’s richest source of protein to everyone’s advantage.
  • Tins of tuna should not only be marked as dolphin friendly, but wider considerations should be taken into account such as the method of fishing, the use of FADS and overfishing.  There should be independent observers on board the ships all the time to check that they are sticking to the rules!
  • Marine reserves which currently cover only 1% of the world’s oceans should be expanded to cover, some argue, up to 40%.
     

lobster potsWhat you can do:

  • Check the Marine Stewardship Council’s website to see which fish are sustainably caught and look for their stamp of approval when buying packets of fish, or you can search particular fish here.
  • The USA is the world’s biggest consumer of tinned tuna followed by the UK (consuming 700 million tins in 2006).  If you buy tuna, choose the most reputable brand. Sainsbury’s followed by CO-OP tuna were ranked by Greenpeace as the most responsible in where they source their tuna from.  See how they ranked the tins: www.greenpeace.org.uk/oceans/time-and-tuna-are-running-out
  • Look for dolphin safe tinned tuna rather than only dolphin friendly.  The dolphin safe label awarded by the Earth Island Institute has the strictest monitoring system of fishing methods with an independent observer on board vessels over 400 gross tons.  Dolphins must not be chased or harmed in any way, intentionally or otherwise.
  • Operation Blue Rage - Bluefin Tuna Defense Campaign  by Sea Sheperd
Read More: Further Information

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