Overfishing and Illegal Fishing

Lobster fishermen in Puerto Cabezas.  Credit: Germán Miranda/IPS

NICARAGUA: Lobster Divers in Deep Trouble

Edgard Walters, who belongs to the Association of Disabled and Active Divers of the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua, has been in a wheelchair since 2003, when he made his last dive for lobster in the waters of the Caribbean.

CHILE: Clouds on the Horizon in Fishing Industry

Unemployment in Chile's fishing industry will rise this year, experts and the association of small-scale fishers warn, due to the reduction in catch quotas adopted in response to overfishing and plunging stocks of key species, particularly jack mackerel.

Fishing at Manta's Tarqui beach. Credit: Gonzalo Ortiz/IPS

ECUADOR: Delayed Return of Fishing’s ‘Golden’ Years

"This year there haven't been many 'dorados', but they're beginning to appear now," Ramón Díaz says hopefully as he disembarks with his fellow fishermen after spending the entire night out on the water.

Assumptions on Overfishing Challenged

For decades, fisheries around the world have relied on practices that take for granted certain assumptions about the industry, such as protecting younger fish while exploiting older fish and using trophic levels to monitor the health of fisheries. Recently, however, some scientists have begun to question these unanimously accepted practices. Experts are beginning to think that the science behind the global fishing industry may be completely wrong.

ARGENTINA: On-Board Cameras to Monitor Hake Fishing in South Atlantic

A video monitoring system will begin operating Jan. 1 on fishing vessels in the South Atlantic in a bid to halt the collapse of the Argentine hake population in one of the world's largest fisheries supplying the white fish market.

Part of the Manta fleet in the fishing terminal. Credit: Gonzalo Ortiz/IPS

ECUADOR: Manta, the World Capital of Tuna

Although domestic consumption of seafood is low, Ecuador has a large fishing fleet, and is home to the main port for tuna and white fish in the eastern Pacific.

A load of fresh fish near Pisco, Peru. Credit: Photo Stock

Legal Shortcuts Trap the Peruvian Anchovy

Exports of fishmeal made from Peruvian anchoveta, or anchovy (Engraulis ringens), is so lucrative that fishers have sought -- and found -- legal shortcuts to obtain permits that would have been impossible through formal channels. This practice is exhausting even the contingency stock that the government had set aside.

Ricardo Aguilar, Oceana Scientific Director. Credit: Courtesy of Oceana

OP-ED: The EU Must Start Fishing Responsibly Now

The loss of marine biodiversity is hurtling forward at an unprecedented rate. At present, the FAO calculates that nearly 80 percent of the world's fishery resources are fully exploited, overexploited or depleted. Furthermore, marine scientists have suggested that if the current pace of exploitation continues, all fish stocks will have collapsed or disappeared by 2048.

Nets that net too much. Credit: Lowana Veal

ICELAND: Don’t Trust Those Fishy Certificates

New eco-labels on Icelandic seafood are misleading and unregulated, concealing practices that damage the environment, critics say.

Greed, environmental destruction and bad practices bring fish catch down. Credit: Zofeen Ebrahim/IPS

PAKISTAN: Too Many Nets, Too Little Fish

The last time Moazzam Khan saw sawfish in the Arabian Sea was in 1984. "At one time, salted and dried fish formed a large part of our exports," recalls Khan, director general of the Karachi Fisheries Department. "In the last 30 years, there may be other marine life that may have vanished of which we may not be aware."

The small boat harbour in Reykjavik. Credit: Lowana Veal

ENVIRONMENT: Icelandic Fishing Quotas Turn a Blind Eye to Industry Practices

In Iceland, strict quotas on the fishing industry result in unnecessary waste and distort data, say critics of the system.

A shark documented by Pretoma in waters of the Pacific, off of Costa Rica.  Credit: Courtesy of Matt Potenski /Pretoma

Narco-Sharks Replacing Drug Mules

Sharks are facing a new threat: they are being fished off the Pacific coast of Central America and Mexico and used to smuggle cocaine to the United States, through Mexico.

The Oceanic Whitetip. Credit: Matt Fidler

Sharks Make It Through the Net, Bluefin Tuna Don’t

Governments have moved to ban the commercial fishing of at least two species of endangered sharks, but the Atlantic bluefin tuna received little protection at the end of a ten-day intergovernmental meeting here.

Canoe on the Nosivolo River. Credit:  Luciano Andriamaro/Conservation International

MADAGASCAR: New Livelihoods to Protect A River’s Life

The Nosivolo River has the greatest concentration of freshwater fish species in Madagascar. Strengthening protection of the river's biodiversity has involved transforming the livelihoods of local people.

Bluefin tuna. Credit: Keith Ellenbogen/OCEANA

Tough Action Urged to Protect Bluefin Tuna

With the Atlantic bluefin tuna being fished to extinction, environment groups have increased their pressure on governments to take action to protect the species.

Microalgae, essential to rearing juvenile hatchery fish, being cultured in a lab in Alexandria. Credit: Cam McGrath

Fooling Fish to Grow and Multiply

Surrounded by glass jugs and beakers full of bubbling green slime, Mohamed Ashour appears to be experimenting with a new formula for pea soup. As part of his daily rounds, the Egyptian researcher checks the valves on the tubing connecting each vessel, ensuring their verdant-hued contents are adequately aerated.

A school of yellowfin tuna.  Credit: NOAA

Seasonal Bans Not Enough to Save Pacific Tuna

The countries that fish for tuna in the Eastern Pacific Ocean see seasonal bans as a form of responsible fishing, but environmentalists argue that they are not enough to ensure the survival of a resource that is threatened around the world.

CHILE: Alarm Over Decline in Mackerel Stocks

Over-exploitation of jack mackerel, the main commercial species of fish caught in Chile, has caused the decline of the Pacific ocean species and a crisis in the fishing industry. Scientists recommend halving the catch in 2011.

Peninsular India's seafood abundance attracts fishing fleets and poachers from around the world. Credit: Marine Products Export Development Authority

Free Trade Deals Bait Indian Fishermen

A series of bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs) is threatening the livelihoods of India's fishermen on the 8,000 km peninsular coastline - among the longest in the world - and the diets of millions of Indians for whom fish is a cheap source of protein.

Finding More Fish, Between Egypt and Vietnam

Combine the experience of Africa's leading freshwater fish producer with that of one of Asia's fastest-growing mariculture sectors. Fisheries experts in Egypt and Vietnam hope it will lead to a robust aquaculture industry that utilises both river and sea to feed growing populations and generate export revenues.

Catching lobsters in Los Roques archipelago, Venezuela.  Credit: Public domain

Heat Rises, Fishing Falls in the Venezuelan Caribbean

In the Southern Caribbean, along the Venezuelan coast, fishing is on the decline, surface waters are warming, rivers discharge tonnes of waste into the sea -- the waves seem to be licking the wounds left by these phenomena and devastating fishing practices like bottom trawling.

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