77 percent of marine stocks overfished

UN report publishes alamarmierende numbers

Captive Cod © WWF Canon / Mike R. Jackson
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Alarming figures on the state of fish stocks in the world's oceans have now been highlighted by a new UN report, presented on Monday in Rome by the FAO. As a result, 77 percent of global fish stocks are already overfished or exploited to their limits. The Northeast Atlantic, and thus also the North Sea, are among the most overfished regions of the world's oceans.

Each year, 86 million tonnes of fish are caught from the seas.

According to the FAO report, the most endangered species include giant sharks, cod, hake, orange roughy and red tuna. Up to two thirds of their stocks are overfished or have already collapsed. Especially on the high seas, many species are massively endangered. According to the FAO, the number of only moderately exploited fish stocks has fallen from 40 to 23 percent since the 1970s.

Time to change direction increasingly scarce

Last year, a study by the environmental organization WWF had already demonstrated the widespread failure of international fisheries agreements governing fishing outside the national 200 nautical miles. Many states do not respect the agreed quotas. "We must stop the pillage of the oceans." The UN report shows that the policy reversal promised by politics and the economy has failed to materialize, and the time to switch is becoming increasingly scarce. "If humanity continues like that, global fish stocks could last until the middle of the century completely collapse, "said WWF fisheries expert Heike Vesper.

"Our credit account is getting smaller, " says Vesper. "Global fisheries is a collapse program, with many fisheries threatening to die out in the foreseeable future, yet we still behave as if the oceans are a self-service store with unlimited supply." Given the massive overfishing it was a scandal that the expansion of fishing fleets will be subsidized with 11 billion euros each year. display

Not too late

According to the FAO, fish farming already covers 43 percent of human fish consumption today. "The rapidly growing aquacultures are not a royal road from the fisheries crisis, " warns WWF spokeswoman Vesper. Often the problem is only postponed, because also the farmed fish must be fed with wild caught fish or fishmeal.

However, it is not too late to solve the fishery crisis, emphasizes the WWF. "Politics and fishing enthusiasts must finally stop swooping on the branch they are sitting on, " says Vesper. The WWF therefore calls for at least ten percent of the seas to be protected. In addition, more environmentally sound fishing methods should be introduced. The environmentalists place great hopes in the blue seal of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). It guarantees that no more fish will be caught than the next. After all, four percent of the world fish catch already bears the ko certificate - and the trend is rising.

(WWF, 06.03.2007 - NPO)