“We are living way beyond our means. We are using 50 percent more resources than the Earth can provide; if we all lived like Americans or Europeans, we would need three planets to support us. Yet there are many who do not have enough to meet their basic needs — nearly a billion people are malnourished and 1.4 billion live without electricity to light their homes.”
“It’s Happening, but not in Rio” Jim Leape, New York Times, June 24, 2012.
Human fishing activities are decreasing globally, but the fishing effort (the capacity to catch fish) continues to increase. The choice of technological efficiency over the human factor has created a “lose-lose” system. On the one hand, our natural resources and marine ecosystems cannot support the pressure we are putting on them (with an annual decrease of 0.4% in world fishing catch since the end of the 1980s). On the other hand, the social cost is immense: unemployment, social breakdown in coastal areas, an unfair distribution of the catch and consumption of seafood. BLOOM’s interest in the validity, efficacy and equity of public subsidies to the fishing sector is part of an attempt to turn the tables for both humans and the environment.
What is the Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY)?
Read the report made by Ocean 2012 (in French) to understand the meaning of this important concept.
The MSY is the minimum target of several international commitments.
- Paragraph 7, annex 2 of the Accord on UN overlapping stocks:
“The rate of fishing mortality which ensures maximum sustainable yield should be considered the minimum standard for critical reference points”
- Paragraph 168 of the declaration of Rio+20: Read it here
“We commit ourselves to intensify our efforts to reach objectives for 2015 written in the plan of implementation of Johannesburg or to maintain stocks and bring them to a level corresponding to their maximum sustainable yield. In this regard, we commit ourselves to take the urgent measures necessary to conserve and regenerate the stocks in order to reach at least the minimum level required to ensure production at maximum sustainable yield as quickly as their respective biological characteristics allow. To achieve this we commit ourselves to design, and set without delay, management plans based on sustainable principles and to reduce, or suspend, the fishing effort depending on the situation of the stocks. Furthermore, we commit ourselves to reinforce measures aimed at managing bycatch, discards and the other negative effects of the fishing industry on the ecosystem, notably by eliminating destructive practises. We also commit ourselves to improve the measures aimed at protecting marine ecosystems vulnerable from attacks, including through effective impact studies. This set of measures, particularly those which are taken by relevant organisations, must comply with international law and the relevant international institutions in this domain, as well as the resolutions of the General Assembly and the directives of the FAO.”
STRIKING FACTS & FIGURES
Although small fishing boats account for 77% of the UK’s fishing fleet and 65% of full-time employment in the industry, they are allowed access to only 4% of the fishing quota.
Source: “‘Fair fishing’ manifesto calls for greater quota share for smaller boats” Harris John and Harvey Fiona, The Guardian, August 8th 2012.
A SCIENTIFIC STUDY ON THE FINANCIAL INEQUITY BETWEEN SMALL FISHERMEN AND INDUSTRIAL FISHING
J. Jacquet et D. Pauly’s excellent article, “Funding Priorities: Big Barriers to Small-Scale Fisheries” is a must-read on this subject.
A PLATFORM FOR SMALL-SCALE FISHERMEN IN FRANCE!
THE MEDITERRANEAN PLATFORM OF ARTISANAL FISHERS
DOCUMENTARY ON FRENCH ARTISANAL FISHERIES
See the film by anthropologist Charles Menzies on French artisanal fishing and the burdens placed on it by industrial fleets and European regulations:
A 35-minute film made in 2008, available in English (“Weather the storm, the fight to stay local”) or French (“Face à la tempête”):
A very useful glossary of fishing terminology from the FAO: http://www.fao.org/docrep/003/w4230e/w4230e09.htm#bm9