14 countries commit to sustainable fishing
On December 2, 2020, the governments of 14 maritime countries, which control 40% of the world’s coastlines, committed to put an end to overfishing, restore declining fish populations and stop the flow of plastic pollution into the oceans over the next ten years. This global ocean protection initiative is the most ambitious to date, as there is no international treaty to protect marine life.
The 14 signatory countries are: Australia, Canada, Chile, Fiji, Ghana, Indonesia, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Namibia, Norway, Palau and Portugal.
They intend to end subsidies that contribute to overfishing, a major demand on the part of NGOs campaigning to protect the oceans. They are also set to put a stop to illegal fishing, reduce bycatch and discards, and implement national fishing plans based on scientific guidance.
These States also made a vow to sustainably manage their exclusive economic zones (EEZs) — in other words, ocean areas that fall under their national jurisdiction — by 2025. The surface area of all these additional EEZs would be equivalent to the size of Africa. Finally, they have committed to protect 30% of the oceans by 2030, investing in particular in wastewater and waste treatment infrastructure in developing countries and decarbonizing shipping transport.
Better managed oceans provide more food
According to research work published in August 2018 in the scientific journal ScienceAdvances, sustainable ocean management could provide six times more food than at present, when many species are fished to the limit of the renewal of their stocks, and sometimes beyond.
Economists have calculated that for every dollar invested in sustainable management, the return on investment in terms of economic, social, environmental and health benefits was around five dollars. Sustainable management could create 12 million new jobs.
The signatory countries wish to convince other States to join them, leading to a worldwide sustainable ocean plan. A plan of this kind could also have a positive influence on the climate, improving oceans’ ability to absorb carbon dioxide.
- “14 Countries Join The World’s Largest Ocean Sustainability Initiative,” Intelligent Living, December 12, 2020 - www.intelligentliving.co/14-countries-join-worlds-largest-ocean-sustainability-initiative
- Source of the fishing sustainability study: “Improved fisheries management could offset many negative effects of climate change,” ScienceAdvances, August 29, 2018 - advances.sciencemag.org/content/4/8/eaao137