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Ending Overfishing Is Opportunity to Combat Climate Crisis - Report

EU governments opportunity to deliver immediate and effective climate action.

Brussels, September 2nd, 2019:- Ending overfishing would not only secure vital fish populations for the future, but constitutes a significant climate emergency action, according to a report published today. According to Our Fish, the report's findings offer EU governments a realistic opportunity to deliver immediate and effective action on dangerous climate change, as well as meeting their legal obligations to finally quit overfishing.

The working paper, Ending Overfishing Can Mitigate Impacts of Climate Change, by Dr. Rashid Sumaila and Dr. Travis Tai of the University of British Columbia, finds that "overfishing and climate change are not mutually exclusive problems to be addressed separately," as both are severely impacting ocean health, and putting marine ecosystems and the goods and services they provide to communities at risk. Ending overfishing would give the ocean respite from human pressure, making it more resilient to the effects of the climate crisis, while helping to restore critically valuable marine ecosystems, says the paper [1].

"A healthy person is more likely to survive an epidemic than a person who is less healthy, and because of overfishing we have severely weakened the ocean's immune system" said Dr. Sumaila. "Ending overfishing now would strengthen the ocean, making it more capable of withstanding climate change and restoring marine ecosystems". Dr. Sumaila is in Brussels this week to brief EU policymakers on how ending overfishing in EU waters supports EU commitments to taking climate action.

Dr. Sumaila hosted a webinar on climate action and overfishing, on September 2nd, at 1500 CET. To view the video of the webinar, click here.

The working paper finds that:

  1. Overfishing and climate change are two of the biggest stressors on ocean health, including to marine ecosystems, biodiversity and fisheries;
  2. Recent estimates suggest that at least 40% of fish stocks in the North East Atlantic and 87% in the Mediterranean and Black Seas are currently subject to unsustainable fishing practices, including stocks that are overfished or exploited at an unsustainable rate [2];
  3. The onset of rapid climate-related changes in marine ecosystems will increase pressure on fish populations, with the potential of extinction for some species;
  4. Decisive action is critical to ensure the long-term sustainability of marine ecosystems and fisheries;
  5. Due to the current inefficiencies that result in catching more fish than nature can generate, improvements in fisheries management to achieve MSY would not only increase long-term catch, but actually offset some of the negative effects of climate change on catches;
  6. Implementation of strategies to increase resilience has been found to help with recovery from extreme climate impacts; overfishing and climate change are not mutually exclusive problems to be addressed separately, and holistic comprehensive solutions must be found to address these two global challenges.




"In light of the aspirations of the EU and its member states for taking climate action, this paper makes clear that the first thing that EU decision makers must do is to end overfishing—and do so this year. Not only is ending overfishing by 2020 a legal obligation under the Common Fisheries Policy, and imperative for the future of EU fisheries and 250,000 jobs that depend on them, it will strengthen the ocean in the face of dangerous climate change," said Rebecca Hubbard, Programme Director of the Our Fish campaign, which commissioned the paper [3].

"The ocean generates more than half the oxygen we breathe, and buffers us against the worst impacts of dangerous climate change, but overfishing undermines its capacity to perform these critical jobs. The EU can deliver a stronger new Green Deal for Europeans by making the Green Deal Blue, and taking decisive action to end all overfishing in response to the climate emergency".

ENDS

Attention: Brussels & international media:

Dr. Sumaila will be in Brussels this week, and is available for interview on September 2nd, 3rd and 4th.

Our Fish presents Dr. Ussif Rashid Sumaila, Professor and Director of the Fisheries Economics Research Unit at the University of British Columbia Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, for a one-hour webinar that will explore how ending overfishing is climate action and a way to reverse biodiversity loss and build ocean resilience. The will marks the publication of a working paper, Ending Overfishing Can Mitigate Impacts of Climate Change, authored by Dr Sumaila and Travis Tai, and commissioned by Our Fish. Credit: Our Fish
Contact: For more details, call Dave Walsh on +34 691 826 764 or email [email="dave@our.fish"]dave@our.fish[/email]

Dr. Rashid Sumaila

Dr. Ussif Rashid Sumaila is Professor and Director of the Fisheries Economics Research Unit at UBC's Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries. He specializes in bioeconomics, marine ecosystem valuation and the analysis of global issues such as fisheries subsidies, IUU (illegal, unreported and unregulated) fishing and the economics of high and deep seas fisheries. Sumaila has experience working in fisheries and natural resource projects in Norway, Canada and the North Atlantic region, Namibia and the Southern African region, Ghana and the West African region and Hong Kong and the South China Sea. He has published articles in several journals including, Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Journal of Bioeconomics, Land Economics, ICES Journal of Marine Science, Environmental and Resource Economics and Ecological Economics. Sumaila's work has generated a great deal of interest, and has been cited by, among others, the Economist, the Boston Globe, the International Herald Tribune, and the Vancouver Sun. More information: http://oceans.ubc.ca/rashid-sumaila/



Dr. Travis Tai

Travis Tai is a newly minted Ph.D from UBC's Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries. Ocean acidification impacts threaten the marine ecosystem goods and services we depend upon. Travis' research focuses on predicting the impacts of ocean acidification and climate change on the future of Canadian and global fisheries. By using methods specifically suited to address different spatial scales, his research seek to provide informative data to mitigate and adapt to these impacts.More info: https://oceans.ubc.ca/person/travis-tai/



About Our Fish

Our Fish works to ensure European member states implement the Common Fisheries Policy and achieve sustainable fish stocks in European waters.

Our Fish works with organisations and individuals across Europe to deliver a powerful and unwavering message: overfishing must be stopped, and solutions put in place that ensure Europe's waters are fished sustainably. Our Fish demands that the Common Fisheries Policy be properly enforced, and Europe's fisheries effectively governed.

Our Fish calls on all EU Member States to set annual fishing limits at sustainable limits based on scientific advice, and to ensure that their fishing fleets prove that they are fishing sustainably, through monitoring and full documentation of their catch.

Website: https://our.fish

Follow Our Fish on Twitter: @our_fish

More information:
Notes:
[1] Ending Overfishing Can Mitigate Impacts of Climate Change, Dr Rashid Sumaila and Dr Travis Tai
https://our.fish/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/2019-05-Sumaila_Ending_overfishing_can_mitigate_Impacts_of_climate_change.pdf
[2] Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) – Monitoring the performance of the Common Fisheries Policy (STECF-Adhoc-19-01). Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, 2019.
https://stecf.jrc.ec.europa.eu/documents/43805/55543/STECF+19-01+adhoc+-+CFP+monitoring.pdf/534ac27c-d0b7-446f-96d0-9a8a1ec68a6c
[3] In the EU, some 250,000 people are employed, directly and indirectly in marine fisheries-related industries, including fishing, aquaculture and processing. Facts and figures on the common fisheries policy, 2018 https://ec.europa.eu/fisheries/sites/fisheries/files/docs/body/pcp_en.pdf
https://ec.europa.eu/fisheries/facts_figures_en?qt-facts_and_figures=3


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