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A World Leader in Fisheries Management

Last updated: 08/06/2009 // A recent report on the fisheries management policies of the world’s coastal states lauds Norway for its careful management of its marine resources.

MANAGING BIODIVERSITY: The Norwegian Coastguard in action.

Behind the study is an independent team of researchers at the University of British Columbia (UBC). They have assessed the compliance of 53 coastal states, representing some 96 per cent of the world annual catch, with Article 7 of the UN’s 1995 Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries.

The Code of Conduct aims to discourage the practices known as illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. By undermining efforts to preserve fish stocks, such fishing poses a threat to marine biodiversity as well as the livelihood of future generations.

Counsellor for fisheries policy Paul Oma at the Mission of Norway to the EU is delighted to see the results of the study, in which Norway emerges as a champion of responsible management of fisheries.

“The report is a welcome confirmation that the Norwegian strategy for a responsible management of our fisheries is paying off”, says Mr Oma, who is nevertheless eager to point out that there is no room for complacency in protecting the biodiversity of Europe’s coastal waters.

A Nordic Model?

This winter, EU commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs Joe Borg announced a wide-reaching reform of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (or CFP), a regime under which major fish stocks in European waters are facing collapse. 

Among other things, Mr Borg is eager to reduce the massive quantities of fish being thrown overboard from European fishing vessels annually simply because the species do not correspond to the quotas allotted to a given vessel. The Maltese Fisheries commissioner will present his proposal for a revised directive to EU member states and euro-parliamentarians in June.

Norway ranks as number 1 when it comes to reducing the amounts of fish thrown back into the sea. Under the CFP, quotas are divided among countries on a per-species basis, meaning enormous quantities of fish is caught in fishermen’s net only to be tossed dead back into the ocean.

Although Norway is part of the Common Market through the European Economic Area agreement, it is not subject to the CFP. Under Norwegian law, throwing dead fish back into the sea is effectively outlawed for the 18 most common species of fish.

“The fact that the EU’s ongoing reform of its CFP is bringing EU policy more closely in line with what is currently practiced in Norway is an indication of the robustness of the Norwegian fisheries regime” says Mr Oma of the Norwegian Mission to the EU.

Preservation efforts pay off

Norway’s Nordic neighbours all receive scores well above average, most visibly when looking at measures put in place to limit the use of fishing techniques deemed harmful to fish stocks. 

The UBC scientists recently presented their findings at the Royal Institute of Foreign Affairs in London, perhaps better known as Chatham House. In the aftermath of the presentation of the report, Mr Terje Løbach of the Norwegian Fisheries Agency was the subject of much praise, according to the industry newspaper Fiskaren.

To Johan Williams of the Norwegian Ministry for Fisheries, the findings of the report consolidates Norway’s position as a model country as far as fisheries management is concerned. “Throughout the years we have put a great deal of effort into managing our maritime resources” says Mr Williams to Fiskaren.

At no less then 1191 pages, the report in its entirety is something of a colossus. An overview with references to the individual country reports can be downloaded here (pdf format).


 


Source: Erlend Engh Brekke   |   Share on your network   |   print