Environmental organizations are urging President Obama to address the damage overfishing does to the marine environment and to ask the World Trade Organization to end fishing subsidies.
The World Wildlife Fund, Mission Blue, Oceana, and other top environmental agencies delivered a letter to President Obama asking for him to lend aid in the opposition against overfishing. The letter, published online, states that more than 85 percent of the world’s fisheries are overexploited, fully exploited, significantly depleted, or recovering from overexploitation, an increase from 75 percent just four years ago. The 77 signatories agree that President Obama has a chance to make a difference by addressing the issue to the World Trade Organization.
The World Trade Organization extends subsidies for fishing that the environmental groups claim is the catalyst behind the overfishing epidemic. Their letter expressed a concern for the stability of the marine ecosystem but also appealed to a very sensitive issue in the United States, the economy. The letter states that the subsidies make for unfair trade practices and hurt local and small town fisheries in the United States. They claim an end to the subsidies will provide more fair competition and more responsible harvesting. The result could lead to more jobs and income in coastal states.
The letter to President Obama has garnered some attention, but it is by no means the only alert this week. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature also released a report pertaining to the overfishing of sharks, rays, and chimaeras. The group is quite concerned that many Shark breeds are on the verge of extinction.
From the release:
The once common, enormous basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus) was last seen in British Columbia in 2004 and not protected in western Canada until 2010. In the middle of the last century, this plankton-feeding shark, which would occasionally swim into salmon nets, was officially labeled as a "destructive pest" and systematically hunted down, often with blade-wielding coastguard vessels that sliced them in half.
Environmentalists hold the ocean as a precious resource and the trending in the oceans reflects upon the environmental trending on land. That suspicion alone is enough for many environmental scientists, philanthropists, and celebrity activists to take note and speak out. Some notable celebrity activists speaking out about the oceans, and also can be found as signatories on the letter are; Chevy Chase, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Darryl Hannah.