The digitalisation of the fishing industry is moving ahead
Despite many improvements, regional overfishing, bycatches and discards remain unsolved problems for the global fishing industry. Catch quotas, controls at sea and in ports, area closures and fishing bans do help, but are not satisfactory solutions. It would be preferable if unwanted fish did not get caught in fishing gear in the first place. Innovative technologies are giving hope for new solutions.
Ghost nets endanger wildlife and harm the environment
This article was featured in Eurofish Magazine 3 2021.
Every day, nets and other fishing gear are lost in the vastness of the oceans or are intentionally disposed of at sea. These ghost nets keep on catching, however, and can become deadly traps that threaten marine biodiversity. Even their gradual disintegration presents dangers, because it contributes to microplastics pollution in the seas. There is still no practical solution in sight for this issue.
A small sea with big problems
This article was featured in EUROFISH Magazine 1 / 2021.
The ﬁshing industry in the Baltic Sea region has long and rich traditions. As early as the Middle Ages, it was one of the most important economic and social activities, and it experienced an unprecedented boom during Hanseatic times. The ﬁshers of today can only dream of such times. Drastic reductions in catch quotas are endangering the existence of many businesses and their future is at risk. What are the causes behind this fatal development?
A Sisyphean task for fisheries management
This article was featured in EUROFISH Magazine 6 / 2020.
Compliance with fishing quotas and implementation of fisheries regulations requires constant monitoring and control and it was to this end that the Community Fisheries Control Agency was set up as the supreme authority in the EU. Although it is relatively small the agency has to carry out a wide range of tasks. Despite its numerous achievements there seems to be no end to the criticism raining down on the group with regard to the effectiveness of the controls. Why do a lot of things work better in Norway or Iceland?
Competition for fish is becoming increasingly international
This article featured in EUROFISH Magazine 3 2020.
The basic idea behind auctions is very old: the goods on offer will be sold to the highest bidder. This method – which is also used to auction fish and seafood – is as simple as it is successful. But the advancement of digital technologies is now making its mark in this area. Many auctions have completed the step into the modern age and are using the possibilities of the internet to prepare themselves for the global fish business.
In many regions of the world it is common practice for fishermen to sell what they catch to just one or only a few wholesalers. This can work, but it has the disadvantage that the fishermen are dependent on the trader and are sometimes not paid fairly because the trader dictates the prices. That is why quite a lot of fishermen consider auctions to be the better method for first hand sale in the fish marketing chain. The principle of auctioning fish catches and selling to the highest bidder is not new and has in some places proven itself for decades. The bell that heralded the opening of the daily fish auction in Honolulu rang for the first time in 1952, and the Tsukiji fish market which closed down just recently in Tokyo, where it counted 900 licensed traders who handled around 1,600 tonnes of fish and seafood a day, was opened as early as 1935. The roots of the Norwegian Sildesalgslag go back to 1927, and Sweden’s largest fish auction in the port of Gothenburg even dates back to 1910. The idea of bringing together suppliers and potential buyers for trading certain goods such as fish and seafood under regulated conditions offers several advantages from which fishermen, traders and ultimately consumers all benefit equally because a constant supply of fresh produce is guaranteed every day.
International control is essential
Climate models predict that the Arctic could be ice-free during the summer months by the middle of the century, allowing access to previously unused fishing grounds. What sounds positive on the surface poses considerable risks to the fragile ecosystems of the Arctic region. Current international governance systems are not enough to counterbalance these developments and enable effective management of the Arctic fishery.
This article was featured in EUROFISH Magazine 6/2020.
The regulation of fisheries is an ancient practice dating back over 700 years.
Seven hundred years ago, on the island that is now New Zealand, the Maori people – the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand – practiced some of the earliest fisheries management in the world. Their consciousness of the ocean’s fragility materialized from their belief in the god of the sea, Tangaroa. In order to appease Tangaroa, the Maori made deliberate efforts to restrain from overfishing, and instead, extracted only what they needed; sometimes returning parts of their catch to the sea. Other island states in Oceania were also known to give certain fishing areas time to recover when signs of overfishing became apparent.
This article was featured in EUROFISH Magazine 5/2019.
WWF project brings alternative livelihoods to fishers in the Adriatic
For the past three years, WWF Adria, a regional WWF office for the Balkans with headquarters in Zagreb, Croatia, has been working in Telašćica Nature Park / Marine Protected Area (MPA), in the center of the Croatian coast. The MPA is becoming known as the place where, for the first time in Croatia, fishers have been involved in the design of the management plan for the protected area. The key objective is to create a model for sustainable fisheries in the Adriatic.
A network has been created between the fishers, government (Directorate of Fisheries), the park management, and WWF Adria to co-manage the fisheries. The network is part of the FishMPABlue2 project which is building good working relationships between MPA managers and fishers in 11 pilot sites in six Mediterranean countries. In Croatia, the project’s “co-management model” strives to develop effective governance measures with a positive impact on the environment and on the socio-economic levels of local fishing communities. Within the project, the fishers decided to create a no-take zone in the MPA themselves and substituted their nets with more selective ones to reduce fishing pressure and catch-per-unit-effort.
This article was featured in EUROFISH Magazine 5/2019.
The 5th International Arctic Forum was arranged in St. Petersburg, Russia on April 9-10, 2019. Titled Arctic: Territory of Dialogue, it brought together some 3 600 participants including top political figures, scientists, businesspeople, and NGOs. The forum comprised 33 sessions arranged into three broad themes: coastal territories, the open ocean, and sustainable development. Ekaterina Tribilustova from EUROFISH International Organisation moderated a session on promising areas in the Arctic fishing industry under the theme, sustainable development.
The Arctic is one of the most unique and primeval ecosystems in the world, and its exploration can be compared with investigation of the space system. Research and development of the Arctic is extremely difficult due to the inaccessibility of the region, the extremely harsh climate and the complexity of the work. Nevertheless, fisheries traditionally remain one of the main activities in the economy of the Arctic region. Present conditions demand the preservation of fisheries and a more reasonable, economic approach to the processing of fish products and transition to high value-added products. The conservation of the biodiversity of the Arctic seas, sustainable fisheries and aquaculture are essential to protect the fragile ecosystem of the region. The advance of aquaculture in the Arctic region requires a separate assessment. Important issues and objectives include development of marine terminals for the integrated servicing of fishing fleet vessels, enhancement of port infrastructure, the ability to deliver fishery products from the Far East along the Northern Sea Route, application of modern technologies for new fishing vessels and the construction of new processing plants in the northern territories.
Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU fishing for short) is one of the greatest threats to the sustainability of fishing, marine ecosystems, marine biodiversity, and human food security. Although international bodies and the UN regard illegal fishing as an environmental crime and the European Union has adopted a regulation to combat IUU fishing the problem has not been fully resolved because there are still gaps and loopholes.
Illegal, undocumented and unregulated fishing, also known as pirate fishing, has many facets. In deep-sea fishing, it is understood to mean all types of commercial fishing carried out without the necessary licence, in which the fishing quota authorised under the fishing licence is exceeded, or in which the quantities caught are not, not completely or incorrectly documented. However, it is also considered to be IUU fishing if a fishing vessel fishes in territorial waters of other nations without permission, or if it violates the fishing laws of that country, for example by ignoring fishing times and protected areas. The territorial waters of some West African countries, for example, are among the preferred fishing areas for pirate fishing. In none of these countries is there a strong fisheries control authority, so that the pirate vessels are not in much danger of being caught.