March 2, 2009

Fishing Industry Should Confront Climate Change

A UN report published on Monday said the fishing industry must do more to confront the effects of climate change as well as get a grip on the perennial problem of overfishing, the AFP reported.

Responsible fishing practices must be more widely implemented and new strategies are needed to cope with climate change, according to the State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture (SOFIA) report.

The report went on to say how climate change is already modifying the distribution of both marine and freshwater species and that warmer-water species are being pushed towards the poles and experiencing changes in habitat size and productivity.

"And climate change is affecting the seasonality of biological processes, altering marine and freshwater food webs, with unpredictable consequences for fish production," the study said.

Kevern Cochrane, one of the authors, said urgent efforts are needed to help fishing communities strengthen their resilience to climate change, especially those who are most vulnerable.

The key problem is still overfishing, according to the report compiled by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which warned that communities relying heavily on fishing could face serious problems if stocks continue to dwindle.

The report cited that overfishing was being facilitated by a higher number of trawlers in operation with increasingly effective technology.

Overfishing affects some 19 percent of major commercial fish stocks monitored by the FAO.

The FAO said the northeast Atlantic, the western Indian Ocean and the northwest Pacific areas showed the highest levels of fully exploited stocks.

The report also criticized "limited progress" in efforts to regulate bottom-trawl fishing, manage shark fisheries and tackle illegal fishing.


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