Hope For Declining Fisheries Lies In Cross-Sectoral Strategies, Say Experts

marine habitat
Marine habitats are being destroyed by over-fishing.

At a conference in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday , two U.S. fisheries experts discussed the threats to the world’s fish stocks as well as possible solutions to the impending marine life crisis. Patrick Christie, Assistant Professor at the University of Washington, and Robert Pomeroy, Fisheries Extension Specialist at the University of Connecticut, concluded that changes in policy and management that address the complexity of fisheries in a cross-sectoral manner may be the solution to dwindling fish stocks and habitats.

Christie and Pomeroy, who recently co-authored a new report on fisheries for the U.S. Agency for International Development, noted that nearly one in four people worldwide—1.5 billion in total—depend on seafood for their food, income, and livelihood. At least 20 percent of workers employed in fisheries earn less than one dollar a day. In developing countries, where 77 percent of global fish production occurs, fish provide some 20 percent of people’s animal protein, compared to just 8 percent in developed countries.

Many fisheries entered a state of decline in the 1980s, while some began to diminish even earlier. Reasons for this deterioration include open access to fishing, overabundance of fishers, poor enforcement of illegal fishing, industry corruption, and poverty. To address the mounting challenges, Christie and Pomeroy recommend a variety of national, regional, and global policy reforms, including improving fisheries assessment capabilities, reforming fisheries governance, providing alternatives to fishing livelihoods, and conserving marine biodiversity to ensure sustainable production.

This story was produced by Eye on Earth, a joint project of the Worldwatch Institute and the blue moon fund. View the complete archive of Eye on Earth stories, or contact Staff Writer Alana Herro at aherro [AT] worldwatch [DOT] org with your questions, comments, and story ideas.