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31 July 2021

Here’s why sustainable fishing is the future

A dialogue with Rafael Sardà, member of our scientific committee on the importance of sustainable fishing.

The topic of industrial fishing and its huge impact on the ecosystem is central in today’s public debate. To better understand the fallouts, Rafael Sardà, member of One Ocean Foundation Scientific Committee and Senior Scientist of the Spanish National Research Council with a strong passion for marine biology, tries to clarify the most critical aspects of the industry and the meaning of sustainable fishing.

Many and heterogeneous – explains Sardà – are the elements that foster the issue. First of all, the limited surveillance of the international community and competent authorities of behaviours and actions occurring in the sea and, in particular, of illegal activities. In addition, the little attention and general awareness around industrial fishing sustainability.

Indeed, the fisheries sector is highly polluting yet there is a tendency to overlook its critical aspects as long as these do not concretely and directly impact daily activities. That is the moment when, as civilized society, we start to worry.

A further problem is the biodiversity loss caused by deep sea fishing activities, if not properly regulated. Current fishing volumes can be particularly harmful to marine ecosystems and their inhabitants, in light of systematic exploitation models to address the gap between the great demand for fish due to mass consumption, and the quantity available in nature.

A possible albeit partial solution that can satisfy the demand for marine products without increasing the pressure on fish could be the increase in aquaculture activities which, however, must respect good practices and avoid contributing to the deterioration of marine habitats.

In order to make the industry more sustainable and to have a lower impact – emphasizes Sardà – it is necessary to implement effective methods for a concrete traceability of fishing activities, so as to ensure greater compliance with rules and greater responsibility to reduce the exploitation of marine ecosystems.

Some results have already emerged in recent years thanks to projects and activities aimed at raising awareness among the public around the issue, with the purpose of making both private individuals and large industrial fishing groups more conscious and to modify their behaviours.

One Ocean Foundation and Rafael Sardà, through various initiatives for the community, analyze the relation between ocean health and different business areas, urging institutions and companies to efficiently work for innovative solutions for the protection of the sea. Indeed, promoting a sustainable blue economy is essential for safeguarding marine ecosystems and ensuring their biodiversity.

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