Transforming fisheries

Unsustainable fishing is putting our oceans under increasing pressure

Excessive fishing or "overfishing" has deteriorated our global marine ecosystem well beyond the impacts on commercial fish species, populations and their habitats.

The key issues of concern:  
  • Pirate fishing: illegal or IUU fishing (Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing) is a serious global threat and one of the main impediments to achieve sustainable fisheries. IUU fishing represents a major loss of income, particularly to poor fishing communities who depend on fishing for food and livelihood.
  • Poor Management and implementation of legislation: for many  fisheries around the world, existing rules are not sufficiently monitored and controlled, while fishing capacity and efforts are not appropriately limited.
  • Irresponsible financing: the global fishing industry is losing more than 50 billion dollars a year in potential benefits due to poor management that create overfishing (eg. fleet overcapacity.) The transition to more sustainable fishing needs to be supported by a strong financial framework that addresses the fishing crisis and marine ecosystem loss.
  • Poor fishing and procurement practices: Bycatch (species caught unintentionally in a fishery whilst trying to catch other fish) and bottom trawling (a fishing technique that drags a heavy net across the seabed) are two examples of unsustainable fishing practices and destructive gear. Also, many fish processors, buyers and retailers don´t know where the fish they are selling comes from or if it meets sustainability criteria. 
 / ©: WWF / Jorge Sierra
© WWF / Jorge Sierra

Some of the facts

  • Western stocks of bluefin tuna have declined by 90% since  the1970s
  • With only 100 left, the world´s rarest dolphin, the Maui dolphin, is almost extinct 
  • Illegal fishing makes up an estimated 15 to 20 %of the world's total catch.

The consequences

  • Fish is a high-value food source on which many communities depend for their income and as a source of protein. If we continue to fish the way we do, we will end up without our favorite fish dish in future.
  • Fishermen are facing unfair competition and fishing communities are running out of business due to IUU fishing.
What’s behind your favourite seafood? rel=
What’s behind your favourite seafood?
© avlxyz /

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