Before joining the MSC in February 2016, I spent 3 and a bit years working for the UK government as fishery manager. One of my roles was to assess the impacts that different fishing techniques have on protected marine environments. As with many elements of fisheries management, the answer to the question: “Which fishing method is most environmentally-sound?” isn’t as simple as it may seem.
There has never been a more urgent time for seafood businesses and fishing nations to make a commitment to sustainability. The world’s oceans are in trouble, with marine life plummeting and the people who are dependent on the sea for income and food left increasingly vulnerable. Data shows populations of fish and other marine vertebrates, including marine mammals, reptiles and birds have halved since 1970.
I cannot over emphasise the importance of our oceans. Not only do they provide a vital source of protein, a playground for recreation and our first line of defence against climate change, it is estimated that some one billion people rely on the oceans for their livelihood.
A new analysis of global fish catch published this week by scientists at the University of British Colombia serves as a timely reminder of the contribution that fishing makes to food security and the potential it has to damage marine ecosystems if not managed effectively.
The findings make a strong case for the need for sustainability and good management of our oceans resources. Something that the MSC program is tackling across the world.
My belly full from one too many meat-centric dinners I find myself thinking the Italians are onto something with their seafood-focused Christmas meals. I live in Canada, blessed by three oceans and millions of lakes, I work for the MSC… So why, oh why do I persist with my views that a holiday meal must include turkey or ham? Time to buck tradition!
Fanny Vessaz is an MSc graduate of marine biodiversity and conservation from the Federal University of Paraná in Brazil. She was a recipient of one of our MSC scholarship program grants in 2014. Her research involved assessing bycatch reduction devices in the southern Brazilian artisanal seabob shrimp trawl fishery. Here she reports on the importance of collaboration and why bycatch is a complex topic where fishing communities’ voices need to be heard.
Brazil is a highly diverse country, and its fisheries are similarly varied. Even among small-scale shrimp fisheries, the methods used can differ drastically, but regulations covering them don’t. Over the course of this year, I have been exploring the dynamics of a small-scale shrimp trawl fishery in southern Brazil and examining the issue of bycatch (the unintentional catching of marine animals that are not a fishery’s target species).