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.
Every year, MSC Oceania runs the Australia-wide Sustainable Seafood Day. In 2015, the team took to the sea, the streets and social media with their #ForTheSea hashtag and the help of advocates from all walks of life. Explorers, researchers, health practitioners, athletes joined to celebrate how choosing sustainable seafood can help keep our oceans healthy. One of these ‘Ocean Ambassadors’ is pro surfer and artist Felicity “Flick” Palmateer, who has also been involved in June’s World Oceans Day. The Oceania team caught with her to talk about her involvement and her love of the ocean.
Krill, a tiny shrimp-like creature commonly used in fish oil supplements due to its high ‘Omega 3’ oil content, has been the subject of considerable discussion in environmental circles. I’ve talked before about why there won’t be a sudden expansion of the krill fishery and today I’d like to address a different issue: is krill fishing harming penguin populations? The suggestion that krill fishing is damaging krill and penguin populations in the Antarctic should be taken very seriously and is a topic I feel it is important to address.
Prince Charles’ letters, released yesterday, refer to the need to protect Patagonian toothfish. But what is so important about this creature and how have things changed since Prince Charles wrote of its plight to the then environment minister in October 2004?
Patagonian toothfish, also known as Chilean sea bass, lives in the cold waters of the Atlantic and sub-Antarctic. This slow growing fish generally lives for up to 24 years and grows to over two meters in length. It’s a species of huge ecological importance, but also supports fishing communities throughout Southern America and the Antarctic islands who fish it commercially for markets in USA, EU and Japan.
Illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing (known as IUU fishing) is a major global problem which undermines the international community’s efforts to protect oceans for a sustainable future.
Estimated to be worth some $10-23.5 billion annually, IUU fishing damages the livelihoods of legitimate fishing operations and communities. In some parts of the world, total catches are estimated to be up to 40% higher than reported catches. Such levels of exploitation severely hamper the sustainable management of the marine ecosystem. IUU fishing covers a wide range of activities: non-compliance with regulations, non-reporting of catch, unregulated activity in high seas waters, and “fish piracy” – fishing without licences.