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The Irresponsible Exploitation of the Sea's Resources

By C. Ortiz Rojas - http://www.photolib.noaa.gov/htmls/fish2172.htm, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5920890

Almost one third of the 600 fish stocks which have been evaluated scientifically are either overfished or depleted (Re.UN-Food). This is all the more unacceptable considering that each year 35% of fish and seafood products are never consumed due to losses or waste throughout the seafood value chain (Re.FAO). Governments around the world spend an estimated US$ 35 billion every year to support the fishing sector. These subsidies are justified by one major argument: it is estimated that 10% of the world's population depends on the ocean for readily accessible source of protein and employment (Re.Taylor&Roberts). However, these subsidies also have very negative impacts on marine and coastal ecosystems. Ultimately, they lead to the overexploitation of our seas. In fact, many fishing subsidies contribute to the overcapacity of fishing fleets and consequently to overfishing. Regretfully, international negotiations on this issue have yielded no results. Let us also recall that each year millions of tonnes of unwanted fish and other animals like marine turtles or dolphins die due to illegal and destructive fishing practices (Re.WWF). In such circumstances subsidies should be quickly reoriented to improve the sustainable management of coastal and marine areas and to build marine protected areas. The declining fishery resources worldwide is an established fact. Unfortunately, International Organizations are unable to move forward on this key issue. And the responses of the national governments around the world are totally inadequate given what is at stake.

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