12 June 2017

9 of the world’s largest fisheries pledge to eradicate overfishing

Nine of the world's largest fishing companies have agreed to a joint UN pact to eradicate illegal catch, overfishing, and other unstainable practices in order to protect the vitality of the world's oceans.

The commitment – which was announced on Friday 9 June during the inaugural United Nations Ocean Conference in New York – was made by nine of the largest fisheries across Asia, Europe and the U.S.

During the UN Ocean Conference, José Graziano da Silva, Director-General of The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), stated that carefully managing the world's oceans is essential for global food security as well as the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people.

Approximately three billion people depend on fish for critical animal protein, while around 300 million people rely on marine fisheries – the vast majority of which are small-scale which constitute the an integral part of marine and coastal social and ecosystems in  many developing countries. 

Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing accounts for as much as 26 million tonnes of fish each year, around one-sixth of all the fish caught at sea and worth around $23 billion.

Signatories of the pact include Maruha Nichiro Corporation and Nippon Suisan Kaish – the two largest fishing companies by revenues – as well as the world's two largest tuna companies and the two largest aquafeed companies.

The commitment marks the first time that large fishing companies from the three continents have worked together to address sustainable fishing on a common platform.

The pact seeks to address the UN Sustainable Development Goal 14, which aims to enhance conservation and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

Under the pact, companies commit to improve traceability and reduce illegal and unreported fishing through their supply chains, in addition to promising to take priority action on antibiotic use, plastic pollution and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

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