It’s only relatively recently that government regulations, quotas, and stricter management oversight have begun to be consistently implemented for fisheries. But while some countries are now making a huge effort to stem overfishing, much more needs to be done.
Current management problems include:
Many fisheries bodies continue to not heed scientific advice on fish quotas. Cod example…
Few international regulations govern fishing on the High Seas.
Many countries have still not ratified, implemented, or enforced existing national and international regulations (such as the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the UN Fish Stocks Agreement).
Countries are either failing to restrict fishing companies from owning and operating Flag of Convenience vessels or are not rigorously inspecting FoC vessels landing at their ports – including countries with some of the biggest fishing fleets such as the EU, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. This allows illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing fishing to continue.
Customs agencies and retailers are not ensuring that the fish entering their country and shops is demonstrably legally caught.
At present there are too few no-go areas for fishing. Protected areas and no-take zones, where fishing is banned or strictly regulated, can provide essential safe havens where young fish can grow to maturity and reproduce before they are caught. But just 0.6% of the world’s oceans have been declared as Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), and 90% of existing MPAs are open to fishing. The current lack of protection is especially worrying for fish spawning grounds and the deep sea, both of which are particularly vulnerable to overfishing. Orange roughy example…
Consumers are unwittingly supporting poor management by purchasing fish from unsustainable fisheries.
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