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Commercial Fishing



International fisheries coalition underlines sustainability commitment. The fishing sector grouped in the International Coalition of Fisheries Associations (ICFA), of which the Spanish Fisheries Confederation (CEPESCA) is a part, has expressed its commitment to progress towards sustainable fisheries management and has stressed the importance of achieving a balance between the conservation of biodiversity, the sustainable use of natural resources and food security . This was expressed by the Spanish Javier Garat, as vice president of ICFA, who participated in the 4th meeting of the Global Dialogue of the Sustainable Ocean Initiative (SOI) , which is being held this week in Seoul (South Korea).

During his speech, Garat pointed out the effectiveness of fisheries management and recalled that, as stated in the SOFIA 2024 report recently published by FAO, 76.9% of landings came from fish populations within the limits of biological sustainability , a percentage which rises to 7 8.9% considering the 10 marine species with the highest landings .

According to Javier Garat:

The high seas are not the ‘wild west’, as some pressure groups want us to see, and the good results of fisheries management deserve greater recognition on the international stage and, nevertheless, it happens On the contrary: the fishing industry faces pressure from some environmental NGOs that often overlook the great efforts made to manage fisheries sustainably and the crucial role that fishing plays in the global food supply.”

Javier Garat also highlighted that fish accounts for at least 20% of the animal protein intake for more than 3.3 billion people around the world and that seafood, in addition to providing the livelihood of hundreds of millions of people, They are one of the foods with the least environmental impact .

“No other natural protein source can match wild fish in terms of climate footprint, nutritional values ​​and excellent taste ,” said Garat, adding that “as the world’s population continues to grow, ensuring a stable food supply is an critical global task.”

In this regard, he recalled that:

“The true climate and conservation challenge of the 21st century is feeding 10 billion people in a sustainable way. Society needs to end hunger and malnutrition while protecting biodiversity. In this sense, to achieve these objectives, the ocean can and must play a relevant role.”

The fourth meeting of the Sustainable Ocean Initiative (SOI) Global Dialogue aims to enhance cooperation between Regional Seas Organisations and Regional Fisheries Organisations to implement the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework . Likewise, the agreement is also being discussed within the framework of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), regarding the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ, for its acronym in English) . The meeting is promoted by the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) .

Garat also highlighted that RFMO fisheries management is the most powerful tool to protect the health of the oceans while promoting human development and, as reflected in the calls of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, has managed to rebuild fish populations and increase catches within ecological limits.

For this reason, and according to the fishing sector, focusing solely on the creation of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) , without considering the sustainable use of marine resources and the needs of coastal communities, can have detrimental effects on food security. and the livelihoods of communities that live off fishing . In this sense, ICFA recognises the role of Other Effective Area-Based Conservation Measures (OECM) as an effective instrument of intersectoral collaboration between fisheries and biodiversity conservation. It also highlights the importance of collaboration between policy makers, NGOs and the fishing sector to collaboratively develop pragmatic and implementable solutions. This is the only way, considers the fishing sector, to continue advancing in the development of a blue economy and sustainable fisheries , and at the same time face challenges such as climate change, marine pollution, including plastics, illegal fishing or decarbonisation.