Monday,10 January,2011 11:17:58
As we enter into 2011, the second decade of the new millennium, the future of fish stands at the cusp between long-term sustainability or continued decimation of overexploited stocks due to ineffective management The consumption of fish—which has come to include both wild caught seafood and aquaculture produced seafood, as a global commodity is being driven by the increasing, now dominant influence of consumption and production in Asia, primarily China, and the growing requirements for “sustainable” sourced seafood for the EU and North American markets.
It is in the interplay of the sustainable seafood movement and an increasing demand for seafood products that the future lies. As we move into this decade these words will likely dominate: certification, traceability, food safety, catch shares, marine spatial planning, illegal unregulated unreported (IUU) fishing, red listed, green listed, sustainable aquaculture, GMO, eco-label, accountability, transparency, fisheries and aquaculture improvement projects, climate change and corporate social responsibility.
The future of fish is directly tied to the health of our world’s oceans and vice versa. We cannot have a sustainable supply of fish if the oceans are not healthy. It is in the interplay of all of the above words that I have great hope that we as global citizens, can continue to enjoy a diverse selection of fish to eat while our oceans are protected and are returned to health.
The future of fish lies in the following elements:
- Corporate leadership of major seafood buyers and suppliers that demand not only sustainably produced fish but recognize and support improvement projects.
- Bold leadership of seafood-producing nations that focus on the restoration of local and regional fishing communities and ecosystem-based management that reflects best knowledge on the interplay between habitats, multi-species management and human impact, both direct and cumulative.
- Bold industry and government leadership in requiring a complete understanding of the seafood products that are imported, including a clear traceable and auditable trail that tracks key elements of seafood sustainability.
- The continued influence and guidance from environmental NGO’s who stand outside the influence of government and industry and whose final measure of success is found in healthy oceans and healthy seafood-producing communities.
Seafood is a critical protein source and a healthy choice when we sit down to eat. Can we have our fish and eat it too? I say the answer is yes. Innovation, integration, collaboration, cooperation, partnership and leadership are the key words that will lead to a strong corporate bottom line, stewardship, and healthy oceans.
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