20 November 2011 | General, FA
World Fisheries Day
21 November is World Fisheries Day. COST joins all fishing communities and those involved in the protection of our marine resources in celebrating the 2011 World Fisheries Day!
World Fisheries Day helps to highlight the critical importance to human lives, of water and the lives it sustains, both in and out of the water. It also focuses on problems such as overfishing, the mechanisation of fishing and other unsustainable fishing methods. It also directs attention to ocean and coastal pollution, and by-catch waste, and moves towards finding solutions to the increasingly interconnected problems we are facing. These solutions, in the longer term, will lead to sustainable means of maintaining fish stocks.
A recent United Nations study reported that more than two-thirds of the world's fisheries have been overfished or are fully harvested and more than one third are in a state of decline because of factors such as the loss of essential fish habitats, pollution, and global warming. About 80 million tonnes of fish and seafood are caught globally each year. Ocean catches represent close to three quarters of this amount. Fisheries make major contributions to fishing nations’ economies, employing millions of people worldwide and feeding millions more.
There is an increasing awareness that traditional indicators of stock viability are inadequate because the capacity of the population to annually produce viable eggs and larvae is extremely important for stock viability and recovery. There are several research projects currently examining the linkages between fish reproductive success and the subsequent population dynamics. There is a need, therefore, for an increased level of cooperation between researchers; the creation of a common research platform which can provide fisheries managers with realistic tools for fish stock recovery.
COST Action 867 ‘Welfare of fish in European aquaculture’ (WELFISH) worked to improve the knowledge of the welfare of fish and to formulate a common set of guidelines for farmed fish. These guidelines are based on the scientifically sound understanding of the concept of welfare in farmed fish with the ultimate goal to construct a range of targeted operational welfare indicator protocols to be used in the industry.
In regard to a common set of protocols to be used in this area, another COST Action aimed to produce just such a basis for all researchers. The recently concluded COST Action FA0601 ‘Fish reproduction and fisheries’ (FRESH) established a network of researchers to co-operate on the improvement of knowledge on fish reproduction. The Action aimed to enhance the current assessment methodology in order to promote the sustainable exploitation of our fish resources.
The emerging field of conservation physiology can provide improved predictions on the impacts of the environmental challenges our marine resources face. This field wishes to ultimately refine conservation strategies. Physiological research reveals how marine fish are adapted to their environment, and how causal mechanisms affect their distribution and abundance, or lack thereof. COST Action FA1004 ‘Conservation Physiology of Marine Fishes’ which began earlier this year, aims to coordinate marine fish conservation physiology research, as well as to coordinate interactions among physiologists, community ecologists and forecast modellers, researchers and policy makers/stakeholders. It will also attempt to integrate the over fifty European institutions involved in the multidisciplinary research areas of marine biology.