Sunday, 28 November 2010

4 Environmental NGOs launch the 'Fish4Tomorrow' Campaign

Over the past few months a number of local NGOs have come together to create the Fish4Tomorrow campaign. The main aim of this campaign is to raise awareness on sustainable fishing within the local context. It also plans to provide guidelines to fish consumers helping them determine which Maltese restaurants serve sustainably caught fish. This idea is similar to the international Fish2Fork campaign (3). Also, Coalitions such as Ocean 2012 (2) which includes high profile members such as Greenpeace, Birdlife International, WWF as well as local NGOs like Nature Trust, Greenhouse and Sharklab (Malta) are on the forefront of raising awareness by campaigning for entire reforms such as the 2012 CFP Reform (Common Fisheries Policy Reform) which aims for healthy oceans and putting an end to overfishing amongst other issues. All this is done in the hope of ensuring that our oceans are preserved for us and our future generations.




Despite its large size, the ocean is not inexhaustible or exempt from the effects of human activity. Over the past decade or so the ocean has suffered irreparable damage and one of the major components is the issue of overfishing. Due to factors such as Globalisation, high levels of demand for certain species of fish have come about. Such is this demand, that governing bodies like the EU have pumped large amounts of money into companies providing them with highly sophisticated equipment and fishing vessels. This in turn has left fish with not enough time to reproduce and therefore giving the species very little chance of survival. The Atlantic Bluefin Tuna (Thunnus Thynnus) is possibly one of the most high profile cases of overfishing the world is currently facing. In fact ICCAT (International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna) have assessed that there has been a strong decline in its spawning stock biomass since 1993.




Catch limits of Bluefin Tuna are currently higher than scientific advice. In 2010 this was averaged to be at 34% higher. In attempt to counteract this, a quota is set by ICCAT which determines the amount of Tuna that is allowed to be caught per year. In 2008, this was set at 28,500 tonnes and has since been reduced to 13,500 tonnes for 2010. This, scientists believe, is still not low enough to give the Tuna a fighting chance of survival. Currenty, ICCAT is facing a lot of criticism from European countries like Malta, Italy and Spain for suggesting a significant drop in the quota down to 6,000 tonnes for 2011 and has had to reconsider this decision since.


Malta is one of the countries which is on the forefront of this issue since it plays one of the most important roles in the ranching of the Tuna which comes into the Mediterranean to breed. In 2006, the MCFS estimated the Bluefin tuna production in Malta to be at 3,000 tonnes, worth around €46,000,000 (1). One of the main reasons why Tuna stocks have been depleting so rapidly is because it is so far impossible to farm the fish, it being a migratory animal. This means the tuna is caught and ranched in large amounts, fattened for 6 months and finally exported, mainly to Japan.




Greenhouse
Nature Trust (Malta)
Shark Lab (Malta)
Get Up, Stand Up


1) http://www.fao.org/fishery/countrysector/naso_malta/en
2) http://www.ocean2012.eu/OCEAN2012
3) http://www.fish2fork.com/




Media Features: Di-ve Media

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