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Commercial Fishing



Greenpeace report reveals shocking failures in global fisheries management. A Greenpeace International report reveals shocking failures in global fisheries management over the last 70 years. The report, Un-tangled: How the Global Ocean Treaty can help repair high seas mismanagement, details how Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs) have failed to manage global g since their emergence, resulting in 35.4% of all assessed fish stocks now being severely overfished. RFMOs are composed of nation states, and exist to sustainably manage fishing and its impact in international waters.

The report also sets out how the Global Ocean Treaty, adopted in June 2023, can address the current ocean crisis with tools that go beyond the narrow sectoral approach, and work with RFMOs to remedy this broken status quo.

Laura Meller, Protect the Oceans Project Leader, Greenpeace Nordic said:

“Science and the safeguarding of thriving fish populations for all future generations should be the compass guiding governments’ choices. Instead, Regional Fisheries Management Organisations have overseen industrial plundering of the oceans at a scale beyond anything seen before in human history.

“This broken system has prioritised extraction for a few wealthy countries over protection for us all. Governments must prize biodiversity protection over extraction and ratify the Global Ocean Treaty so in future, protection and justice are at the heart of ocean governance.”

The report, which comes ahead of an international oceans conference “Immersed In Change” (June 7 – 8), at which solutions to ocean governance will be discussed, explains why RFMOs have not delivered on their mandate to preserve marine biodiversity. At the core of this is abuse of consensus decision making that allows single countries to block vital measures, corporate influence which creates substantial conflicts of interests, and RFMOs’ continued failure to follow scientific advice.

Since RFMOs emerged 70 years ago, ocean health has relentlessly declined, as they have failed to prevent overfishing, the decimation of sensitive species and the destruction of vulnerable marine ecosystems.

The report also presents cases of weaponising doubt in the scientific process, often resulting in decisions that allow continued overexploitation and hinder measures to protect the environment.

Laura Meller added:

“Behind closed doors, corporate capture of RFMOs has left them powerless and counterproductive. On their watch, the oceans have been plunged deep into crisis, and the broken status quo must change before it’s too late. The Global Ocean Treaty provides hope. If it’s ratified in 2025, it will enable us to protect 30% of the oceans by 2030, giving marine life a chance to recover from decades of mismanagement by RFMOs.”

Greenpeace is calling on governments to urgently ratify the Global Ocean Treaty so it enters into force by the UN Ocean Conference in June 2025. Champion governments must also make progress on the first Marine Protected Area proposals.