Posted on 14 September 1998    
Portuguese Gift to the Earth, Fisheries Hotspots Map & MSC Board Announced

LISBON -- At the start of an international fisheries conference here today, the conservation organization WWF made three major announcements which highlight solutions to the global fisheries crisis. These relate to creation of new marine protected areas (MPAs) in Portugal, the release of a new fisheries hotspots map and the announcement of the first Board of Trustees of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

WWF congratulates the government for designating Arrabida and Berlengas as the first continental marine protected areas in Portugal, said Mr Stacy Standley, Director of WWF's Living Planet Campaign. This is an important contribution to the conservation of marine biodiversity and a step towards the establishment of a network of marine protected areas.

This announcement is the latest in a series of Gifts to the Earth being pioneered under WWF's Living Planet Campaign. Gifts to the Earth are extra actions and commitments on behalf of governments and industry which advance conservation in a significant way. Other Gifts to the Earth include Unilever's commitment to the MSC and the Galapagos Conservation Law passed by the government of Ecuador. Currently, WWF is actively campaigning for the creation of a Whale Sanctuary in Mediterranean.

The new fisheries hotspots map being released today identifies outstanding marine ecoregions which are severely threatened by overfishing, destructive fishing practices and other influences,said Michael Sutton, Director of WWF's Endangered Seas Campaign. This week's conference will explore solutions to safeguard these critical areas, as well as fisheries elsewhere.

One such solution is the MSC, an independent initiative designed to create market incentives for responsible fisheries through independent certification and labelling. Once operational, it will give consumers a choice to purchase fish and other seafood they know come from sustainable sources.

The two-day conference organised by WWF, Creating a Sea Change: Resolving the World's Fisheries Crisis brings together some 200 industry representative, fisheries experts and government officials. The participants are discussing innovative tools such as establishing no-fishing zones, creating market incentives and reducing subsidies to improve fisheries management.


For more information, please contact Karen Flanders, (31) 65425-1769, Someshwar Singh at (41) 79-310-8102 or Leigh Ann Hurt (44) 468-336-398; or call the WWF Room at the conference centre at (35) 11-361-2502/2505.

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