Smart fishing solutions

Small fishing harbour in the National Park of Taza, Algeria rel=
Small fishing harbour in the National Park of Taza, Algeria
© Parc National de Taza
WWF collaborates with pro-active players in the fishing sector to obtain healthy, well-managed fisheries and responsible markets.
WWF engages legitimate, pro-active players who are convinced that safeguarding sustainable marine ecosystems is key to provide a long-term future for our fisheries, markets and livelihoods. We collaborate with many different stakeholders to ensure that: 


Bringing conservation into governance and laws

The success of sustainable fisheries is based on the implementation of "ecosystem-based management" (EBM), a form of fisheries management that is increasingly gaining momentum with governments and industries because of its effectiveness. EBM protects the marine enviroment and positively impacts the global market and communities living from fishing for their food and income. 

Improving the resource ... 
Implementing EBM requires taking careful account of ecosystem conditions that may affect fish stocks and their productivity. For example, the creation of "no (fish)-take" zones or other types of Marine Protected Areas such as those which safeguard fish spawning, breeding or feeding grounds. Protection of these habitats helps depleted fish populations to recover and ensures the long-term sustainability and productivity of a fishery.

... its environment
Implementing EBM also requires taking careful account of how fishing affects marine ecosystems. In order to maintain healthy fisheries, catches may need to be reduced to allow the species to continue to play its natural role in ecosystems. In addition, fishing gear that eliminates or minimizes the incidental take of non-target species (bycatch) and damage marine habitats may need to be implemented.

and taking people into account...
EBM recognizes the economic, social and cultural interest of all stakeholders in a fishery and how these interests affect resource management. By managing human impacts, the EBM approach is more likely to succeed there where many other initiatives have failed.

Finally, for EBM to be successful, management organisations will need to stop granting "open access rights" to vessels (e.g. fishing areas, allowable fish catches, etc..) that encourages overfishing. Instead, a well-designed Rights-Based Management (RBM) strategy, a mechanism through which access to the sea is controlled, will provide the necessary economic incentives for sustainable fishing. 
 / ©: Alfred Schumm WWF International
Fisherman at night. Small-scale fishing of reef-fish, whitefish and tuna. Stonetown, Zanzibar, Tanzania.
© Alfred Schumm WWF International

WWF position on Rights-Based Management (RBM)

Promoting sustainable markets, engaging partners

Transparency and sustainable procurement practices through credible certification
Traceability, both through voluntary market engagement and legislation, provides positive incentives for fishermen to move towards sustainable fishing practices. Growing market demand for certified sustainable seafood will stimulate positive market transformation. 

A traceablity system that tracks fish from the water to our plate contributes significantly to eradicating illegal fishing practices and will help to create a global healthy, fair market.  Find out more... 

Engaging several partners 

WWF engages with public and private sector partners to build a sustainable seafood future, advocating policies and practices that protect the oceans and the long-term viability of fisheries and our seafood supply.

Sometimes, progressive, leading companies support and join WWF in its demand to governments for sustainable practices. This is the case with the EU Fisheries Reform Alliance.

On a private sector level, WWF spurs producers, processors, suppliers, retailers and global brands to purchase from environmentally responsible fisheries, adopt and apply responsible procurement policies throughout the whole fish supply chain and make a move towards certification. Find out more... 
 / ©: MSC
Number of MSC products
© MSC
 / ©: WWF
October 2010, Aberdeen: during an event organised by the ‘Alliance’, Scottish Fisheries Minister Richard Lochhead asks EU Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki for greater regional control of fisheries management and an end to wasteful fish discards.
© WWF

Responsible Investment in fisheries

Change the rules on fisheries support...
WWF advocates with governments to eliminate subsidies that contribute to overfishing and create unsustainable competition in developing countries.

Today, goverments all over the world spend billions dollars in support of their fishing industries; big part of this money is wastful or counterproductive, leading to excess in fishing capacity and undermining good fisheries resource management.  Fortunately, many governments and citizens in both developed and developing countries are become aware that something can and must be done. 

WWF believes that, by adopting and implementing appropriate financial mechanisms to finance the transition from harmful fishing practices to sustainable fisheries, we will be able to obtain, and also maintain, healthy fisheries. 

Find out more about what WWF is doing to promote responsible fisheries investment. 


Reforming Fisheries Subsidies

 / ©: WWF-Canon / Jo BENN
Artisanal pirogue with local fishermen passing Spanish trawler in their fishing grounds. Senegal.
© WWF-Canon / Jo BENN

What you can do

Brochure - "Set Your Longline Deep: Catch more target species and avoid bycatch using a new ... / ©: Smart Gear / Steve Beverly
Brochure - "Set Your Longline Deep: Catch more target species and avoid bycatch using a new gear design"
© Smart Gear / Steve Beverly
Each and every one of us can help to stop the unnecessary waste of marine life and promote sustainable fishing and seafood consumption - fishers and fish processors to seafood lovers, supermarkets, restaurants and politicians.

Find out how you can help.

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