Smart Fishing

Seabirds, North Atlantic Ocean. rel=
Seabirds, North Atlantic Ocean.
© WWF-Canon / Mike R. JACKSON
For centuries, our seas and oceans have been considered a limitless bounty of food. But increasing fishing efforts over the last 50 years as well as unsustainable fishing practices are precipitating the collapse of many fish stocks and marine habitats all over the world. 

Never before has the need to shift from exploitation to good stewardship been more important. 

WWF vision

"Our oceans are well-managed, healthy, robust and full of life, providing valuable services for the well-being of humanity." 


"If we don’t properly manage our oceans, we face not only an environmental disaster, but a social one too. If we are not able to manage our fisheries in a sustainable way, we are proving that mankind is unable to learn."

Alfred Schumm, Leader of WWF´s Smart Fishing Initiative

From overfishing to ... smart fishing

According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), "90% of the world's fisheries are either fully exploited, over exploited, depleted, or recovering from depletion" (FAO, SOFIA report 2014).

Despite these alarming figures, the global seafood market is expected to grow another 50 million tons by 2025, urging fishermen, processors, suppliers, buyers and retailers to meet this demand.  Aquaculture production is expanding each year but will only contribute to increase pressure on wild fisheries unless they are better managed. 

Through the Smart Fishing Initiative (SFI), WWF´s global fisheries programme, WWF tackles the many problems of overfishing to contribute to a sustainable future for our global fisheries. 

Our work entails:
  • spurring fishers, processors, sellers, buyers and retailers to commit to certified fisheries, and to purchase and sell seafood products that can be traced back to its origin. 

The SFI collaborates with other existing WWF programmes,  Global Initiatives and offices all over the world including the Global Marine Programme, Latin American Fisheries Programme (LAC), Coastal East Africa, Artic, Market Transformation and Coral Triangle Initiatives, the Mediterranean programme, the European Fisheries  Programme and the Global Species Programme to find and promote solutions that help to maintain our fisheries and marine ecosystems healthy. 
If overfishing of tuna, particularly the Atlantic bluefin tuna, continues, the world fisheries will ... / ©: WWF
If overfishing of tuna, particularly the Atlantic bluefin tuna, continues, the world fisheries will be faced with an ecological disaster.
© WWF
Overfishing is amongst the biggest threats to our oceans.

As the number, size and power of fishing boats has grown, an increasing number of commercial fisheries are being fished to the point of collapse.

Destructive practices such as bottom trawling are damaging and destroying sensitive marine habitats. 

Millions of non-target fish and other ocean dwellers are incidentally killed each day as "bycatch".

WWF 2020 Goals

  • Healthy and recovered marine ecosystems for four priority fish populations.

    This means that:  

    • they are managed and traded sustainably
    • they provide improved global food security
    • they offer better livelihoods for communities depending on fish as an income

Smart Fishing

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