To conserve world's oceans, underlying poverty and hunger must be solved - UN
With 47 per cent of fishing stock reaching maximum sustainable limits, 18 per cent overexploited and 10 per cent already depleted, conservation of the world's oceans can only be achieved if the larger problems of poverty, hunger and underdevelopment are adequately addressed, a United Nations agency warned today.
Wherever people are heavily dependent on fish for their livelihoods or lifestyles, any perceived threats to their access - such as stronger conservation measures - are likely to be met by resistance, a senior Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) fisheries officer, Kevern Cochrane, told the Fourth World Fisheries Congress in Vancouver, Canada.
"Millions of people depend on fishing for food and employment, especially in the world's poorest countries," Mr. Cochrane said. "Implementing stronger conservation measures and more sustainable fishing practices in these areas hinges on addressing the root causes of poverty and food insecurity there."
Achieving a sustainable global fisheries sector is possible using existing strategies and plans, such as the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, but doing so requires that the international community effectively address the underlying problems of poverty, hunger, and underdevelopment, he added.
"Piecemeal solutions to ocean management seem inevitably doomed to failure, and lasting, global reconciliation of marine resource use and conservation will only be possible if these prerequisites are in place," he told the congress, attended by 1,500 delegates from 80 countries.
FAO figures show that net revenues from fish trade - exports minus imports - by developing countries recently reached $17.7 billion, a figure larger than that earned from their exports of tea, rice, cocoa and coffee combined. But the statistics also show that 1.2 billion people worldwide survive on just $1 a day while 842 million go without enough to eat each day, many of them in the developing world.