On 27 June, we celebrate World Fisheries Day. The day, which was established in 1984 by the World Conference on Fisheries, is an excellent opportunity to pay special attention to sustainable fishing.
Numerous actions and initiatives have been taken around the world for years to sustain catches, rebuild ecosystems and prevent the extinction of fish. Today, fishing and aquaculture is one of the most important economic activities in the EU. The EU is the third largest fish consumer in the world following China and Peru. Poland ranks 64th in the world in this respect.
The resources of our lakes, rivers, seas and oceans are limited and may run out faster than we realise. We should make sure that our consumer decisions support those companies which apply responsible fishing rules and are not only guided by the desire for profit, but also take care of the natural balance.
Key principles to be followed:
- do not buy juvenile fish that have not yet had a chance to give birth to offspring,
- pay attention to where the fish you want to buy comes from, because in one area the stock of a given species can be stable, while in another it can be very low,
- buy fish from local catches; from such a source the fish is fresher and transported shorter,
- to buy fish from the farm (aquaculture),
- to buy those species of fish that are not in danger of extinction,
- choose fish and fish preserves with a label: MSC (the Marine Stewardship Council).
MSC is a label given to products from places where fish is caught with respect for nature. This way of fishing guarantees the preservation of the wealth of fauna and flora in the sea and the ecological balance.
Our attitude when buying fish is of great importance. It influences the decisions of companies trading in fish and the suppliers and producers of fish products. When buying fish, it is important to choose fish from sustainable fisheries. In this way we contribute to the protection of marine ecosystems and the preservation of fish and other organisms for future generations. Let's act consciously.
The growing problem of over-exploitation of natural resources of the seas and oceans has given rise to guidelines and regulations for global fisheries control. In 1995 the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) developed a Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. Improper and irresponsible fishing can lead to the extinction of many fish species and seriously undermine the ecological sustainability of water resources. Therefore, most countries in the world, including major fishing powers such as Norway, the USA, India and China, have adopted and apply the Code. It is fully consistent with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Cancun Declaration (1992) and other international regulations governing world fisheries. It has become a fundamental document for the Common Fisheries Policy of the European Union.
It is worth mentioning that the biggest problem is so-called overfishing, i.e. over-exploitation of marine resources. We face it when more fish is taken from a given stock at a given time than it will be able to be reborn. This disrupts the natural balance of the population and its ability to recover itself. Currently, approximately 30% of the world's fish stocks are overfished, and around 60% of them are fished at the maximum possible level. Therefore, on average, in just one hour, almost 10,000 tonnes of fish are lost from the oceans, which is about 80-90 million tonnes per year. For example, the Atlantic tuna population has decreased by 97% over several decades. Fishing for these fish is still underway.
It is therefore worth making conscious consumer decisions, especially those based on respect for the waters, both native and marine and ocean ecosystems.