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Save the oceans to feed the world campaign. (Photo: Oceana)
World Oceans Day celebrated across the globe
Friday, June 08, 2012, 23:20 (GMT + 9)
OCEAN2012 is taking advantage of World Oceans Day to launch the third European Fish Weeks. Oceana is contributing by releasing a report describing how saving the world’s oceans can save the world by helping to feed the 9 billion people projected to be living on Earth by 2050 -- a 30 per cent increase in the world’s population.
European Fish Weeks will consist of public events organised by people across Europe in 12 EU member states to raise awareness of overfishing and call on decision-makers’ to end it.
In its report, Oceana explains how applying science-based fisheries management in the 25 countries that control more than 75 per cent of the globe’s fish stocks by curbing overfishing, protecting marine habitat and limiting bycatch will boost fish stocks enough that wild seafood could sustainably feed 700 million people per day.
“This is a rare win for both conservation and food production – we can save ocean ecosystems and feed millions of hungry people by establishing these proven conservation policies in the countries that control the world’s wild fish catch,” said Oceana CEO Andrew Sharpless.
Progress is coming slowly, and meanwhile many European Union (EU) fish stocks continue to be overexploited -- 19 per cent of assessed stocks fall below safe biological limits. Both the marine environment and fisheries-dependent communities are suffering greatly as a result.
“European Fish Weeks is about explaining why we must end overfishing, or fishing will be over,” said Uta Bellion, director of the Pew Environment Group’s European Marine Programme and OCEAN2012 co-ordinator. “Our leaders have the responsibility to stop overfishing, and citizens have the responsibility to encourage and support them to make the right decisions.”
Bellion stressed that it is decision-makers’ responsibility to stop overfishing – and it is citizens’ responsibility to push leaders to make the right decisions.
Recently published data shows that:
For the past 30 years, annual fishing quotas have been set one-third higher than recommended as safe by EU fishery scientists.
The value of restoring fish stocks to healthy levels could be worth EUR 3.2 billion per year to the EU.
The European Commission’s (EC) latest figures show that there is less overfishing of assessed EU fish stocks, but there are also fewer stocks that can be reliably assessed.
“We are encouraged by the number of activities planned for the third European Fish Weeks, which demonstrates the growing desire of European citizens to see an end to overfishing,” added Bellion.