Seafish welcomes IPSO recommendations

Seafish has welcomed recommendations from the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO) to mitigate threats facing the marine environment.

Head of Environment, Philip MacMullen, said there is a strong need for concerted actions to address negative human impacts:

“The highly respected IPSO team identify hypoxia, anoxia, ocean warming and acidification as key stressors of the marine environment. As an industry, we share their concerns because these are the most fundamental threats to the marine food web.

“Seafish and the UK seafood industry support the six actions identified by IPSO to better manage our marine environment. We plead for the political will to drive through good governance of our marine resources.”

The IPSO report contained strong warnings on climate change and ocean acidification.

Mr MacMullen said: “Temperature change and acidification can undermine the food web by affecting the plants and tiny animals that make up the plankton. Nearly all marine life depends entirely on plankton – without it our marine ecosystems really will collapse, along with the oceans’ capacity to absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide.

“Nearer to land, poor management practices have also affected populations of marine species: inputs of nutrients and sediments, along with coastal developments, have severely reduced the nursery areas that many fish and shellfish need in order to become breeding adults.

“We must see, and we are seeing, a rebuilding of fish stocks through enlightened management. It is essential that we have robust stocks so that they can withstand the inevitable stresses caused by environmental disturbances. Fishing has not caused the extinction of any species; good fisheries management should be seen as a model of stewardship for others to draw upon.”

In recent years, the UK seafood industry and many others have adopted the United Nations’ FAO Code of Practice for Responsible Fishing. This is evident in the number of fisheries that have been certified to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standard as sustainably managed. The MSC scheme is fully compliant with the FAO CoP and the UK has the highest number of certified fisheries in the world. Equivalent schemes are also now operational.

Mr MacMullen continued: “There is now plenty of evidence that we can do much better – and this work is well underway in the management of fishing. The UK seafood industry therefore calls on all those attending the forthcoming UN meetings to lobby for equivalent changes in the other key areas of environmental oceans management, so that our combined efforts can safeguard the oceans for all.

“Please don’t let this invaluable source of human nutrition suffer from a lack of political will. We call for international governments to adopt and drive greater levels of environmental stewardship to protect our oceans and our seafood.”

world fishing & aquaculture, 27 June 2011. Article.

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