Giving Compass’ Take:
• China plays a huge role in the fishing industry and has the opportunity to increase transparency and end corruption in the seafood supply chain.
• Transparency in the fishing industry would help millions of people who are dependent on healthy fisheries for their livelihood. What can funders do to encourage more openness and ethical practices?
• Learn about the future of seafood transparency with blockchain technology.
Commercial fishing employs more than 40 million people in a global market estimated to have reached $156 billion in 2017. Despite its size and importance, the fishing industry remains shrouded in mystery, lacking crucial information about where and how much fish is being caught, vessel ownership, labour practices and how seafood moves along the supply chain.
The operation of distant-water fleets is particularly opaque, and its clandestine nature has led to illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing which threatens the long-term sustainability of global fisheries. This lack of transparency harms the future of the fishing industry and robs resources from millions of people who depend on healthy fisheries for their livelihoods and food security.
According to a recent Stimson Center report, China has the largest and most productive distant-water fleet, accounting for almost 40 per cent of the global total. Given its central role in the fishing industry, China has a historic opportunity to take the lead in increasing transparency across the seafood supply chain.
Over the last twenty years, China’s distant-water fleet has grown considerably, partly due to the overfishing and depletion of fish stocks within its own exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
This prompted Chinese fishing fleets to expand their reach outside the EEZ, ensuring fish for domestic consumption and trade exports. In addition, China has provided its distant-water fleet with fuel subsidies, to such an extent that recent research has shown its operations may not be profitable without them.
Overfishing is depleting fisheries around the world, degrading the food security of coastal nations and depriving them of much-needed revenue. In West Africa, for example, IUU fishing costs an estimated $2.3 billion in lost revenue per year. Distant-water fleets are also known to take advantage of law-enforcement gaps and poor traceability regulations, which lead to a lack of oversight.
Read the full article about why water fisheries should become more transparent by Sally Yozell at Eco-Business.
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