World's biggest fishing firms sign up to protect oceans

Posted Jul 2, 2017 by Tim Sandle
To protect overfishing and to maintain an ecological balance a group of major international fishing companies are working together. The scope of works centers around a new charter.
The exiguous catch of hake from one fishing boat and three men is classified according to value in s...
The exiguous catch of hake from one fishing boat and three men is classified according to value in small, medium and larger fish.
The charter, which is a voluntary initiative, represents the first time the major fishing companies based in Asia, Europe and U.S. have come together. The main points covered in the document are: a statement of intent to stop overfishing; the prevention of illegal catch practices (such as when vessels trespass into other national waters); stopping the use of slave labor (as occurs in parts of Asia). With slavery, there was a recent expose into the practices of the Thai prawn fishing industry which raised several concerns about modern salvery:
"Large numbers of men bought and sold like animals and held against their will on fishing boats off Thailand are integral to the production of prawns (shrimp) sold in leading supermarkets around the world."
According to The Guardian, the signatories constitute nine of the world’s biggest fishing companies in the world. The charter was announced in June 2017 as part of the United Nations Ocean Conference, which was held in New York at the United Nations headquarters. As well as the issues relating to fishing, the conference also addressed other concerns relating to human activity in the oceans, including pollution, the destruction of coastal habitats, and acidification of the waters.
With the coming together of the fishing companies, the charter is called the Seafood Business for Ocean Stewardship initiative. Although most of the world's fishing activities are undertaken by millions of small boats operating independently, one sixth of the world's fishing is carried out by 13 leading fishing companies; these companies control around 40 percent of the most valuable fish species. Annual revenues from the activities of the big companies is close to $30 billion.
The video below explains more about the activities of the big fishing companies and the impact on the oceanic environment:
With the charter, the statement says the signatories “represent a global force, not only in the operation of the seafood industry, but also in contributing to a resilient planet.”
Commenting on the charter, which takes the form of ten inter-linked pledges, Henrik Osterblöm, who is deputy science director at the Stockholm Resilience Centre, told “Sustainable marine ecosystems will be essential to feed a growing population, but the oceans are at risk. Seafood makes up 20% of the global intake of animal protein.”
It is hoped the new charter leads to more sustainable fishing practices and improved cooperation over the management of the ocean environment.