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Seafish Show Optimism for World Fish Stocks

UK - Seafish, the authority on seafood, today welcomed a new study led by Professors Boris Worm and Ray Hilborn which reveals that the state of world fisheries provides grounds for much optimism amongst ongoing concerns.

Philip MacMullen, Head of Environment at Seafish, said: “The authors’ conclusions are clear: progressive, developed and well resourced management works well. Many of the world’s fisheries are in a better state than previously thought. We agree with this paper’s findings that Illegal fishing must be stamped out, and call on all countries to ensure that they don’t enable or encourage illegal fishing. The UN Code of Conduct for Responsible Fishing is a key document that most nations have signed up to. We must try to ensure compliance with its provisions.

In the UK, we set up the Responsible Fishing Scheme (www.seafish.org/rfs) in 2006, based on the UN Code, to introduce a standard for responsible fishing. This scheme now accounts for 44 per cent of UK seafood landings, and more British fisheries are now accredited as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council than any other nation on earth.

The new paper essentially brings Boris Worm’s expertise together with that of Ray Hilborn. This unprecedented collaboration has resulted in powerful insights and recommendations that we cannot ignore. Ultimately, responsible management is the means to recovery where there has been over-fishing, and everyone – fishermen and conservationists included – has a part to play in that recovery.

The study is a rare example of marine ecologists working formally with fisheries management scientists – another positive step forward which we welcome. ICES and other bodies are also rapidly moving in this direction. What’s needed now is the political will to ensure that all nations play their part in the responsible management of our ocean resources for future generations.

the Fish Site Editor

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