How sustainable seafood can positively impact developing countries | WWF
How sustainable seafood can positively impact developing countries

Posted on 04 June 2015

Seafood is the most traded food commodity from developing countries, providing food security and income for up to a billion people worldwide. But 90% of the world's fisheries are already fully exploited or overfished. Unsustainable fishing practices, including illegal fishing, as well as the growing demand for seafood threaten both valuable resources and livelihoods.

Seafood is the most traded food commodity from developing countries, providing food security and income for up to a billion people worldwide. But 90% of the world's fisheries are already fully exploited or overfished. Unsustainable fishing practices, including illegal fishing, as well as the growing demand for seafood threaten both valuable resources and livelihoods. 

Representatives of WWF, Südwind and the EU Commission’s DG MARE debated the role of the EU, its seafood consumers and the corporate sector in driving more sustainable and legal fishing practices in developing nations. The EU is the world’s biggest seafood importer and 50% of it comes from developing countries. Hence, buying decisions of Europeans make a considerable difference. 

Simone Niedermüller, Marine Officer at WWF, states: “The majority of consumers are not yet aware of their role in supporting environmentally, economically and socially responsible seafood. We want to change that and create empathy among EU citizens”. She presented WWF’s EU co-funded Fish Forward project, which aims at raising awareness of the global impacts and interdependencies of fish consumption. This information campaign will provide seafood recommendations that help preserve natural resources around 800.000.000 million people depend on as a source of food or income.

DG MARE’s Policy Officer Louize Hill highlighted the EU’s driving role in tackling illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, which accounts for estimated 19% of the worldwide reported value of catches. “It poses a serious threat to sustainable fishing, damages the marine environment and effects socio-economic conditions, especially in developing countries”, Hill explained. The EU’s IUU Regulation seeks to prevent and eliminate IUU fishery products being traded to or from the EU. A possible ban on marine fisheries products from non-cooperating states constitutes an important incentive for third countries to combat IUU fishing. “Trade measures towards Belize, for instance, led to tangible progress in this country in improved fisheries governance and management”, Hill said.

Stefan Grasgruber-Kerl, Head of Campaign at Südwind, concluded by stressing the importance of retailers: “European supermarkets have to assume responsibility for the sustainability along the supply chain. It is crucial to offer seafood products that guarantee fair working conditions and prevent human rights abuse. Only then consumers are able to make a choice that benefits developing countries”.

For further information: 

Florian Kozák
Communications Coordinator

Fish Forward Project
WWF Austria
+43 1 488 17 286
florian.kozak@wwf.at

Source of the article
European Development Days 2015. June 2015, Brussels
© WWF Austria
Speakers at European Development Days 2015. June 2015, Brussels
© WWF Austria
Speakers at European Development Days 2015 with moderator Jennifer Baker. June 2015, Brussels
© WWF Austria