Time to take stock of South Africa’s fishing industry

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 08 June 2011

WWF South Africa (The World Wide Fund for Nature) called for “all hands on deck” to address the key threats facing South Africa’s fisheries, this World Oceans Day.

Fishing techniques, such as trawling, directly impact marine habitats

“World Oceans Day is a good time to take stock of the state of South Africa’s fishing industry,” said Dr Samantha Petersen, WWF South Africa’s Senior Programme Manager: Marine. “Considering that South Africa’s coastal

communities are dependent upon the resources provided by the oceans for food security and livelihoods, it is vital that we address these issues.”

“Presently we are facing several key threats, but most significant is that of over-fishing. The demand for seafood is at an all-time high with 2009’s global per capita consumption at 17.2kg. The proportion of over-exploited or depleted fish stocks increased to 32% in 2008, bringing the proportion of global stocks fished to their limit or beyond to 85%.”

“Coupled with this is the fact that many fishing practises are wasteful and frequently unselective with an estimated 38.5 million tonnes globally, or 40.4% of the estimated total marine catch comprising of non-target species such as seabirds, turtles, sharks and other finfish. As many bycatch species are marine top predators, the unmonitored and uncontrolled discarding of these animals can have knock-on impacts on the functioning of marine ecosystems. Furthermore, many fishing techniques such as trawling, directly impact marine habitats.”

“Fortunately, South Africa has a long history of responsible fisheries management,” said Petersen.

“All is certainly not doom and gloom. WWF’s Sanlam Living Waters Programme works to ensure that there is adequate protection of our marine resources and environments through facilitating and supporting the implementation of an Ecosystems Approach to Fisheries. The aim of this Approach is to protect marine ecosystems, including their human components, as a whole. We also support the establishment of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) as well as promoting Sustainable Fisheries.”

The WWF Sanlam Living Waters Partnership seeks to catalyse concerted action from government, the private sector and civil society around the sound management of our aquatic resources.

“Every seafood lover can contribute to the health of our oceans by making wise seafood choices,” said Petersen. “The Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI) provides consumers with guidance on which seafood is an ocean friendly choice and which to avoid based on the health of that population and whether or not the fishing or farming method used is detrimental to the environment.”

Consumers can SMS the name of their seafood to the SASSI FishMS line on 079 499 8795 or visit the SASSI website at wwfsassi.co.za


Source: WWF

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