Global commercial fish stocks could fall by 90% in 35 years

Commercial fish stocks in the oceans could be reduced by almost half in the next 35 years due to overfishing, pollution and climate change, the head of the marine program of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Russia Konstantin Zgurovsky.

World Fisheries Day is celebrated annually on 27 June 1985. Holiday established by the decision of the International Conference on Fisheries Management and Development, held in July 1984 in Rome. In Russia, there is also a fisherman's Day to be celebrated on July 8.

"Indeed, there is some evidence that we have already passed the peak of fishing. And by some estimates, the commercial fish stocks could" crash "of 2048 by 90%, with the wrong attitude to them. Should keep in mind that the condition of the water biological resources depends significantly on the climate change, overexploitation, pollution and habitat destruction and reproduction, and the depletion of marine biodiversity — including mass mortality of seabirds and marine mammals in the large-scale use of destructive fishing gear, such as driftnets, "- said Zgurovsky, words which are reported WWF Russia.

According to WWF, the global fishing industry provides employment to more than 120 million, and the annual income from it is around $ 55 billion. In the world there are approximately 3.5 million fishing vessels with a total tonnage of 1.3 billion tons.

Threat to fish

At the same time, the report said WWF "Living Planet", from 1950 to 2006, the annual catch in the world has more than quadrupled, from 19 to 87 million tonnes (and remained approximately at the same level up to the present time, despite the growth capacity of the fishing fleet). This was facilitated by new technologies — new gear, better and more powerful ships and detection of clusters of fish, deep-sea trawling in tight spaces, and so on.

Among other threats — an increase in ocean acidity due to the increased content in the air of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted by burning fossil fuels, which, according to some, is already causing damage to the world's fisheries in a few billion dollars a year, says WWF.

Greatest threat are the destruction or dirt fish reproduction and fishing areas with oil. During the conference, Rio +20, many representatives of international organizations and well-known scientists have proposed a moratorium on oil drilling in ice-free areas.

"WWF Russia believes that it is impossible to drill oil in our main commercial areas to create a reliable system for oil spill response, especially given the harsh conditions of the Arctic. And in some cases — in places fish reproduction — exploration and production of oil should just be banned," — said a member of the public council Rosrybolovstva Zgurovsky.

According to the expert, until the state of fish stocks in the Russian economic zone does not inspire great fear.

"But that does not mean it will last forever. Despite the aging of the Russian fleet, exceeding the capacity of the fleet of the fish stocks, the low efficiency, which is an incentive to overfishing," — said Zgurovsky.

Preserve and increase

For the conservation of fishery resources of Russia to adopt a state policy on integrated planning in the Arctic ecosystem-based approach, where the sea is considered as a single living organism, according to WWF. During 2012 — the year of the Arctic, WWF initiates the development of integrated management plans for the Arctic region, in the first place, and the Barents Sea.

The priority should be the development of marine biological resources of minerals on the shelf.

In addition, according to WWF, Russia needs to complete work on a national strategy to prevent illegal fishing, to develop and adopt a methodology to assess, implement traceability from catch to consumer, proceed to the "greening" of the various fisheries.

WWF also supports the creation of new marine protected areas. In particular, the Foundation actively supports the creation of the first fisheries conservation area in the Sea of Okhotsk, where about 40% of Russian catches.

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