The fate of the world’s oceans is a serious concern not just for environmentalists but also for the fishing industry. World over, fishing stocks are declining at alarming rates. Many countries that depend on fishing for their economy are suffering. Scotland is one of those economies that depends rather heavily on fishing. Over the weekend, a new plan based on stakeholder engagement was unveiled to ensure that both fisheries management and seafood supply and marketing work together to achieve the best results.
Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead said that by adopting a more strategic two-pronged approach, the government could improve engagement with stakeholders and ensure everyone works towards a common goal.
Two new overarching bodies will be created to take this work forward:
- The Fisheries Management and Conservation Group will build on the success of the Conservation Credits Steering Group and cover all aspects of inshore and offshore sea fisheries
- The Scottish Seafood Partnership will replace the existing Scottish Fisheries Council and will be made up of the key players from processors, retailers and producer organisations seeking to maximise continuity of supply opportunities to add value from net to plate for all seafood products
Working on a model of stakeholder engagement might well be the answer to ensure that fisheries are properly maintained. Fishery management is fraught with complications, international laws, national laws and other norms that need to be followed. Fisheries also have to contend with illegal fishing, fall in fish-stocks due to increase in pollution and climate change.
The global appetite for fish is also on the increase with many consumers opting for seafood as the healthier or more sustainable option. There are many resources that educate consumers about the most sustainable options when it comes to seafood. Seafood Watch recently launched an android application that gives consumers on the spot information on the most sustainable choices.
Nothing demonstrates the tragedy of commons better than the fate of the world’s oceans. Unless there is a way to bring together various entities in the preservation of fish-stocks, the great blue heart of the planet will die. Healthy fish stocks are vital in ensuring ocean health and many of the threatened species like tuna and shark are key-stone apex predators which are needed. Numbers of these as well as species on the lower order of the food chain also needs to be boosted. Declining oceans are one of the biggest causes for concerns within the realm of environmental protection.
Consumers need to realize that they are stakeholders to the fisheries and fisheries need to find innovative methods to dialogue with consumers as well the government to ensure better engagement between all three parties. This three-way dialogue that Scotland is aiming at will go a long way to ensure that fisheries management becomes more transparent and hopefully better managed.
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