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Reimagining sustainable fisheries

Reimagining sustainable fisheries by Jennifer Jacquetcorresponding and Daniel Pauly. Read the article for more information.
Please take some time to read this article, Reimagining sustainable fisheries.

The current understanding of sustainable fisheries prioritizes the exploitation of single stocks for industrial fisheries to meet global market demand, including fishmeal. However, such a focus has been detrimental to the sustainability of ecosystems, marine life, and indigenous communities dependent on artisanal and subsistence fishing. Industrial fishing has been detrimental to fish populations globally, leading to government bodies, civil society organizations, universities, international groups, and the private sector to promote sustainable fisheries, i.e., fishing operations that could be sustained indefinitely.

Despite ecosystem-based management discussions, the focus on single stocks has been too narrow to achieve commonsense notions of sustainability. Therefore, reimagining sustainable fisheries is necessary to prioritize artisanal and subsistence fishing and reduce the degradation of marine ecosystems.

Furthermore, the end use of fisheries should be part of the sustainability conversation, as the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has certified fisheries whose catch is reduced to fishmeal. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) should commission a study on the end use and who eats the global catch to evaluate the contribution of industrial fisheries to food security.

To promote sustainability in fisheries, governments must stop providing handouts to industrial fisheries, put an end to forced labor practices, and protect aquatic animals from industrial fishing. Therefore, eliminating subsidies, limiting the international trade of aquatic animals, and reserving the right to fish to artisanal and subsistence fishers would be a step towards a sustainable future. This reimagining would require a cultural shift where wild fish and invertebrates were considered more like wild animals than traded commodities, which is a similar shift in thought that has allowed the protection of whales.

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SDG 14: Global Action for Marine Conservation

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