“Sustainable Reforms: fishing smarter can increase economic growth, food production and fish population.”
June 2015: Scientists of a new research series say economic, nutrition and conservation gains could be made from the ocean in the next 10 years if the global fishing industry adopts sustainable reforms.
Rather than dwelling on the negative decline of the world’s oceans, Ocean Prosperity Roadmap: Fisheries and Beyond explores how a transition to sustainable resource use for example, by fishing smarter, not harder can reduce poverty while increasing economic growth, food production, and fish populations.
But, the human stakes are high: ocean resources employ 260 million, feed three billion, and face grave risks. Yet, collaborative teams of scientists and economists found that if oceans were managed sustainably, within 10 years, profits could annually grow 115% to USD 51bn over today.
However, if fishery reforms are not adopted and status quo remains, the health of the oceans will continue to decline, say the scientists. Compared to this “business-as-usual” scenario, the benefits of sustainable fishing appear even more striking: globally, fisheries could annually yield 17 million metric tons (23 %) more wild fish, generate USD 90bn (315%) more profits, and boost the amount of fish left in the water for conservation by 112%, according to the Roadmap.
The research also outlines standard best practices that scientists say can lead to a positive future including enacting measures to prevent overfishing, implementing measures to reduce fishing pressure when stocks become depleted, having a robust evaluation of the status of stocks, enforcing regulations to prevent illegal fishing and preventing a race to fish and excess capacity
Scientists say the majority of countries have made a good start towards effective fisheries coastal governance, but all still need work.
In addition, scientists say the Ocean Prosperity Roadmap can shows stakeholders how, where, and why we can meet today’s needs, while increasing food security, livelihoods and the richness of life in the future, which will add two billion more people by 2050.
These conclusions are based on models using a database of 4,373 fisheries that represent 77% of the ocean’s catch.
The overall collection is the result of work by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, California Environmental Associates (CEA), the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB), and the University of Washington (UW).