Ulovane Update: World Fisheries Day

21 Nov

World Fisheries Day

This day is an important celebration worldwide, more than two-thirds of the world’s fisheries have been overfished and are in a state of decline due to pollution, global warming and destruction of essential fish habitats.

The day helps highlight the importance to human lives that water has, both in and out of it. We as humans don’t only rely on fish as a food source, but water bodies serve an integral part of transportation across the globe!

If we want to do anything about a problematic situation, we must know as much as we honestly can, about the subject. And Days like these are valuable, for even one mind changed is better than none!

Fish are often an undervalued food source, that forms a big part of many diets of people, more than 100 million tonnes annually, and especially in communities that live near coastlines and rivers.

Many societies around the world have their economy and livelihoods built around the occupation of fishing.

This proximity, however, has had a negative impact on these water bodies. Things like plastic pollution from rivers into oceans, run-off from domestic and industrial activities have led to the depletion of fish stocks in the immediate inlet to the water source, which in turn affects the natural cycle of fish, pushing them away from their traditional grounds.

Unsustainable fishing methods in these fisheries mentioned above has caused an irreversible effect in some areas worldwide.

What are the issues then?

There are too many to discuss in this setting, but the most imperative seems to be the following:

  • By-catch from commercial fishing is hugely detrimental to fish populations. This is ANY kind of marine life caught by fisherman, NOT wanted, so then it is simply discarded, not always alive.
  • An INTEGRAL part of sustainable fishing is to stop fishing gear from getting lost in the ocean.
  • One gill-net or strand of fishing line may not seem a lot, but after being lost, they continue to trap fish and all host of other marine animals.
  • WWF has found that lost gillnets still catch nearly FIVE times as much fish as an active net does. This is also referred to as ‘ghost fishing’.
  • POLLUTION – plastic; noise; chemical; mechanical.

There is a silver lining though IF enough of us jump at the opportunity we have in front of us to make a difference!

And how do we, who work in offices, or live inland, do anything??

  • Look out for the blue Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) label when shopping for seafood.
  • We have 86 MSC certified seafood products in SA!!
  • #mypromise is to choose seafood products with the MSC label when shopping.

A lot of us here in South Africa will be familiar with the SASSI pocket guide on what fish are good, just okay, and bad to eat! They are scaled into three colour groups, Green, Orange and Red!

If not, please get your hands on a copy, they are quite readily available in a lot of seafood restaurants.


If you DO live near the coast, try these two simple tips:

  • When you visit the beach, take a bag with you and pick up litter. Even small amounts can help save an animal!!
  • Eat fish that are not endangered.

Oceans, for more than just food, are one of the most important sources on the planet. Pollution and a lack of funding to implement towards projects that will make a difference is causing a slow and painful death of this essential life source.

Days like these are imperative to RAISE AWARENESS on the severity of the crisis, for if we do nothing, it will only deepen.

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