Global fisheries are in trouble

Global Fishing Index 2021

I worked on this report, and I declared my interest pretty early, but I wanted to talk about it because global fisheries are in serious trouble but nobody is quite sure how bad the problem is. Minderoo Foundation put 500 fisheries experts onto the job and the report is pretty depressing stuff.

Here are the main points:

  • half of assessed fish stocks are overfished, and nearly 1 in 10 have been driven to collapse
  • 52 per cent of the global catch is from unassessed stocks, which lack the data to say if they are sustainable or not
  • with few exceptions, countries are failing to deliver on global commitments
  • most fisheries lack science-based management
  • key stakeholders, including local fishing communities, are unable to effectively participate in management.

So Australia should be pretty good with this stuff, right? We are a developed country and we care about science (sometimes…).

Well, no.

We earned a D grade.

Australia does have a well-developed governance system that has capacity to ensure sustainable fishing. But 60 per cent of our fish stocks are unassessed or overfished and there’s limited progress to restore those stocks to sustainable levels.

This is all pretty grim, but can we do anything?

Yes. It’s simple:

I talked about this with Danny Hoyland on West Bremer Radio on 27 November. Listen each week: Saturday 7.40 am, West Bremer Radio.

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