Marine resources are not unlimited. We are aware, today, of their extreme vulnerability to the changes in the environment and to pressure from fishing.
Several species already appear to have disappeared from oceans as a result of overly intense human exploitation.
The extraordinary natural ability of the marine species to renew themselves can be reduced, even annihilated, due to intensive fishing. 90% of fish populations in the world are either overfished (29%), or exploited to the maximum level (61%). Closer to home, in northeast Atlantic, almost 40% of the stocks are overfished.
The key issues for a sustainable fishing are :
- Implementation of an effective fisheries management system to avoid overfishing and illegal fishing activities (or IUU illegal fishing, unreported and unregulated).
- Coherence in fisheries management based on an ecosystem approach (consideration of the entire marine ecosystem).
- Better knowledge of the state of the stocks and marine environment.
- Improvement of the seafood product traceability system with information available at each stage of the fisheries supply chain, up to the consumer.
- Improvement of selectivity of fishing gear to avoid the discard of unwanted catches and ensure the catching of sexually mature individuals.
- Development of techniques limiting the impact of fisheries on natural environment.
- Respect of social conditions of seamen onboard fishing vessels and improvement of safety on board.