Recent International Events
A fresh approach to fisheries management is needed if we are to successfully tackle the global challenges we face.
This was the message from Mike Arbuckle, previously National Manager Fisheries Operations here at MFish. Mike is now a Senior Fisheries Specialist for The World Bank, based in Washington DC.
The focus of his talk was an update on the state of global fisheries and an exploration of the challenges and opportunities.
The World Bank loans money to countries to assist with economic growth in the hope of generating wealth and reducing poverty. Since 1947, the bank has loaned US$350Billion to countries around the world. Mike said a guiding principle for the World Bank is the link between economic growth and good use of natural resources.“Many of the poorest countries are rich in natural resources. We need to change the management of these ‘natural assets’ if we are to promote growth and reduce poverty.” Mike said.
Fisheries play an important role in this. Mike and others at the Bank are therefore working to mainstream into the core work of the World Bank. “This is a new approach, fisheries hasn’t been dealt with like this in the past”, Mike said. “But I believe that there are important links with other World Bank growth strategies and it is vital that we incorporate it.”
There are, however, a number of challenges to be considered, said Mike. Two major considerations are the effects of climate change and the sustainable management of fisheries.
“Aquaculture is a rapidly growing industry, increasing at a rate of 8-9 percent a year, but how to manage it sustainably is still a pressing issue,” Mike said. “Furthermore the effects of climate change mean sea levels are rising, our oceans are warming, and coral reef is in serious danger, with current predictions indicating that half of the world’s coral will be dead by 2020.” The state of global fish stocks is a continuing concern with 75% of the world’s fish stocks now fully or over exploited, as well as decreasing levels of biodiversity. Illegal fisheries activity is on the rise, now estimated to be a $9 billion per year industry.
The World Bank believes there has to be a better way to manage global fisheries into the future. “There are great opportunities for growth and wealth. In third world countries, fisheries can either be a pathway out of poverty for people or a trap,” said Mike. The Bank’s approach is to build global fisheries through a new management style that includes: clear benefits and incentives for people and more room for social mobility; effective ways to tackle corruption; public and private advocates (not just public); and development of public/private partnerships (PPPs).