World Bank forms sustainable fisheries coalition


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
February 23, 2012

The World Bank Group has formed a coalition to confront overfishing, marine degradation and habitat loss.

In a keynote address at The Economist’s World Oceans Summit in Singapore, World Bank President Robert Zoellick said the coalition, dubbed the Global Partnership for Oceans, is designed to bring together industry, government, academia and the conservation community to advance a common set of goals for healthy and productive oceans and to coordinate new financial support.

“The world’s oceans are in danger, and the enormity of the challenge is bigger than one country or organization,” said Zoellick. “We need coordinated global action to restore our oceans to health. Together we’ll build on the excellent work already being done to address the threats to oceans, identify workable solutions and scale them up.”

Ocean health will be a key issue at the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development in June, and the Global Partnership for Oceans will assist with implementation by supporting countries meeting commitments for improved ocean management.

Among the industry organizations participating in the partnership are the National Fisheries Institute and World Ocean Council. Environmental NGOs including the World Wildlife Fund, Environmental Defense Fund and Nature Conservancy were tapped to participate, as were government agencies including United States’ National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Brazil’s Ministry of Environment and the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization.

“Partnering with the seafood community on issues of sustainability, rather than targeting the industry is the future of successful efforts,” said NFI President John Connelly. “The World Bank is putting together this partnership in order to invest in the most effective sustainability work happening now.

“The global nature of seafood means there is a need for global solutions to sustainability challenges. And investing in the health of fish stocks can be an important investment in the future of a community. So, whether the outcomes are economic, environmental or social the World Bank’s focus is in the right place,” he added.

Also participating in the partnership is Darden Restaurants of Orlando, Fla., the world’s largest casual-dining company. “The health of the world’s oceans is critically important. Like so many, we depend on the natural resources the oceans provide and investing in their health helps ensure the long-term viability of those resources,” said Roger Bing, Darden’s VP of seafood purchasing.

Click here to view the new Global Partnership for Oceans website.

Click here to watch a five-minute video about the partnership and an interview with Zoellick.

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