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WFC: Collaboration for Sustainable Fisheries

09 May 2012, at 1:00am

GLOBAL - Prince Charles, the Duke of Wales addressed delegates at the World Fisheries Congress 2012 yesterday, saying that he believed that fisheries of the future the future could be sustainable, so long as industry and government act now. He opened the ceremony alongside Richard Lochhead and other keynote speakers. Charlotte Johnston, TheFishSite editor reports.

Mr Lochhead said that wild fisheries sustain million of communities around the world as a valuable source of food and income.

Speaking later that morning, the Duke of Wales said that to ensure wild fisheries are sustainable, governments must work alongside industry and even the smallest of fishing communities. He was speaking with experience through his role as founder of the International Sustainability Unit (ISU).

He said there was a direct link between the health of ecosystems and food security, which was why it was important to act now to prevent overfishing.

"If fish stocks fail then the social and economic impacts will be dire," he said.

He focused on developing countries and small fishing communities, highlighting that in 2008 $27 billion worth of fish were exported by developing countries, at a higher value than rice and coffee.

This, he said, demonstrates the importance of fish stocks to those communities.

Despite an FAO report highlighting the need for stock assessment in developing countries, where many stocks are overexploited, the Duke said that there were positive examples of sustainable fisheries.

He said it was important for partnerships to develop between all stakeholders using all available resources.

"We must foster more regional collaborations to improve livelihoods and work from grass root levels to increase the understanding and benefits of sustainable fishing."

The ISU hopes to introduce and inspire changes in small communities towards sustainable, by actively demonstrating the benefits sustainable stock management can have on stock numbers and income.

Concluding, the Duke of Wales quoted the world bank: "If global fisheries were better managed, they have the potential to contribute $150 billion more per year than they do today."

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