Countries Where the Fisheries Are Sustainable
Today there are a number of countries that have implemented regulations and policies that ensure that their fisheries are as sustainable as possible. We will highlight some of those countries here and provide insights into the policies that are proving to be effective; these vary from public education to sustainable practices stemming from the fishing industry itself.
Norway’s Fisheries are currently offering a sustainable fish supply to U.S. markets. New England’s dwindling cod supply has been forcing U.S. chefs to look elsewhere for cod. The New England Fishery Management Council has slashed current cod quotas by more than 50 percent for the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank; this in effort to halt the complete disappearance of the species from the region. As with the Grand Banks off Newfoundland, overfishing is blamed for the depletion of the local cod.
The Norwegian Seafood Council is able to fill the void due to its own sustainable processes for catching local cod. The council promotes the use of skrei, a seasonal Norwegian cod that migrates from the Barents Sea to its spawning grounds off Norway’s north coast. In order to be labeled skrei, strict conditions have been put in place. The cod must be caught wild and full grown, between January and April, and packed within 12 hours of being caught. In addition, the fish must have no imperfections, such as nicks or bruises. This takes extra policing on the part of the Norwegian fisheries; however, it appears to be working in terms of sustainability.
Norway’s sustainable fishing operations make them the world’s second-largest seafood exporter, behind only China. The country enacted regulatory controls in 1816 to ensure skrei’s longevity. Over 400 million cod migrate annually to the coast but only 10 percent of those caught qualify as skrei. The remaining 90 percent are thrown back into the Barents Sea so that the species can be sustained. All skrei is Marine Stewardship Council certified. Norway is also being touted for its sustainable salmon and halibut aquaculture program. This program combines the country’s natural asset of cold, clear waters with strict regulations to monitor the health and safety of fisheries.
The fishing industry is a vital source of food and jobs for Barbados, but in the late 1970s, habitat degradation and loss of fish population threatened fisheries. In 1995, Barbados implemented the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries to address these issues. The changes were extensive and they have been beneficial to the fishing industry. Marine life in the area has rebounded. The changes included establishing principles, in accordance with the relevant rules of international law, to promote responsible fishing and fisheries activities. The fisheries are examining all the relevant biological, technological, economic, social, environmental and commercial aspects. This will allow them to establish principles and criteria for the implementation of national policies for responsible conservation of fisheries resources and fisheries management and development. Barbados has also worked to facilitate and promote technical, financial and other cooperation in the conservation of fisheries resources and in fisheries management and development.
This includes promoting the contribution of fisheries to food security and food quality – as well as giving priority to the nutritional needs of local communities – while also promoting the protection of living aquatic resources and their environments. Finally, Barbados is working to promote research on fisheries and their associated ecosystems as well as on relevant environmental factors. This will allow the island country to provide standards of conduct for all persons involved in the fisheries sector. These changes have had a lasting effect on the fishing industry in the area, as well as on its marine environment. Native marine species have been protected and the country’s fishing industry has remained intact, proving that policies that support sustainability can be effective.