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Unsustainable Fishing Needs International Law

GLOBE - More than 40 per cent of world fish production is unsustainable according to a new study, which finds that the 53 countries that account for 96 per cent of the global catch are evading the international fishing code to some degree.

The report, carried out by WWF in conjunction with the University of British Columbia, Canada, and the Federal University of Rio Grande, Brazil, found that 28 of those countries accounting for 40 per cent of the global catch completely fail to follow the United Nations Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries.

The code is a non-binding scheme developed in 1995 to fight the intensive exploitation of fish resources. Among the recommendations of the new report is to transform this voluntary code into a new international legal regulation covering all aspects of fisheries management.

The report evaluated intentions to comply with the code as well as the effectiveness of day-to-day compliance. No country achieved a “good” score. The best compliance of 60 per cent was found in Norway, followed closely by the United States, Canada, Australia and Iceland. North Korea was ranked lowest, complying with just 10 per cent of the code.

The questions on which countries scored worst concerned introducing ecosystem-based management, controlling illegal fishing, reducing excess fishing capacity and minimizing by-catch and destructive fishing practices.

Although Europe had some of the highest scores, disappointing scores from some European Union nations with the undoubted resources and know-how to implement the code reinforced the impression of a low priority given to improving fisheries management.

Compliance scores from developed nations were on average twice as high as those from developing nations, although some developing countries such as Malaysia and Namibia did score well. Another of the report’s recommendations is to provide aid for developing countries to address specific problems.

the Fish Site Editor

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