05 Dec The Environmental Justice Foundation has published 10 principles for global transparency in the fishing industry
How do we control the world’s most widespread predator? Humans. When a team of researchers set out to find out how widespread the fishing industry was around the world – who was fishing, where and when – they encountered a lack of information.
They had no access to vessel tracking systems, jealously guarded by regional fisheries managers and that information would only have shown a few pieces of the puzzle.
They discovered that the industry’s footprint was staggering. They determined that the fishing industry covers more than 55 % of the ocean’s surface. It is more than four times the area occupied by agriculture.
The fishing industry has been responsible for damaging environmental impacts. Overfishing can deplete resources, many animals such as dolphins or sea turtles are bycatch, and giant ships need large amounts of CO2-producing fuel.
But, according to researchers, seeing the industry on a global scale can lead to increased transparency and accountability to ensure that fisheries are managed more sustainably.
Transparency in the fishing industry goes beyond a control and inspection issue. At present, transparency is seen as an issue of competitiveness, which makes it possible to improve the conditions of fishing activities, access to other markets and keep consumers informed about the origin of the product.
In an attempt to achieve a greater transparency, the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) has published its 10 principles for global transparency for the fishing industry.
The 10 principles establishes that is mandatory for all countries
- Provide each vessel with a unique number. This number will prevail for ships independent of possible name or flag changes. It will be registered in a global report.
- Wessel tracking data should be access to public. This will allow others such as countries and non – governmental organisations to check on in.
- Also fishing licenses and all authorisations should be made public. In order to have a clear knowledge of who can fish where. This and wessel tracking data will facilitate and exhaustive control on illegal fishing.
- Sanctions for fishing offenses should be published. It will permit to spot the ones responsible for fishing or human rights abuse on fishing vessels
- Prohibit the transfer of fish from one vessel to another unless authorized to do so and always assuring is carefully survelled. If this is uncontrolled it is impossible to know where the fish comes from once is at port.
- Create a digital database with all the vessel documentation. By having this digital data it will possible to certified catches as as fished legally and ethically.
- Terminate the uso of “flags of convenience” for fishing vessels. The problem is that there are countries who don’t revise the vessels that are flagged causing misinformation.
- Have public records for vessel proprietors. Many time a fake company is established in order to hide true beneficiaries of illegal practices.
- Condemn and sanction those practicing illegal and uncontrolled fishing. All countries have to guarantee that the citizens are not supporters of this types of practices.
- Implement international regulations that establish standards for the fishing industry. These are regulations like the Port State Measures Agreement, the Work in Fishing Convention and the Cape Town Agreement.