UN Highlights Importance of Investing in Initiatives That Support Sustainable Fishing

kristy Green Prosperity

SUSTAINABLE FISHING New York, Apr 26 2012 4:05PM The United Nations today
highlighted the importance of investing in initiatives that seek to tackle
overfishing and protect marine biodiversity, as well as inform consumers of
the benefits of buying sustainable fish products.

?Fisheries are a major piece of the global economy and a major source of
jobs for people both in the developed and the developing world,? said the
head of the Water & Ocean Governance Programme of the UN Development
Programme (UNDP), Andrew Hudson, during a press conference at UN
Headquarters in New York on the impact of overfishing. ?Fish are a major
piece in the global environment and we have to pay close attention to this
issue if we want to maintain healthy and productive oceans going forward.?

According to UN estimates, approximately 85 per cent of the world?s fish
stocks are overexploited, depleted, or recovering from depletion; and the
world economy can gain up to $50 billion every year by restoring fish stocks
and reducing fishing capacity to an optimal level.

Mr. Hudson emphasized the influence of both the private sector as well as
consumers in demanding sustainable fishing practices, but underscored that
the involvement of fishermen, non-governmental organizations and governments
is needed for sustainable fishing practices to prosper.

Some private companies are already addressing the challenge of investing in
sustainable fishing practices. Whole Foods Market, the United States
retailer, recently announced that it will no longer carry wild seafood that
has been ?red rated? ? meaning that the fishery it came from may be involved
in overfishing or that other marine life may have been hurt in the process.
Instead, it will only carry wild seafood from fisheries certified
sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council.

Speaking at the press conference, the company?s Seafood Quality Standards
Coordinator, Carrie Brownstein, emphasized that it is making its ratings
information available to the public in an effort to raise awareness of
fishing practices among consumers.

?We want to be completely transparent about our sourcing policies so that we
can build consumer trust,? Ms. Brownstein said. ?We are hoping that our
rating system can also help other companies develop their own sustainability

Ray Menell, a local fisherman from New Jersey who was also took part in the
press encounter, said that fishing practices in recent years have severely
hurt many species. He stressed that policies like the ones adopted by Whole
Foods should serve as an incentive for fisheries to eventually move towards
more sustainable practices.

?There are global implications in the policies we adopt and the businesses
we work with and that?s what people need to realize when they make decisions
about what they buy,? Ms. Brownstein later told the UN News Centre in an
interview, adding that since the company made their rating systems available
to the public, consumers have increasingly bought green-rated products.
For more details go to UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news