One third of all fish are lost

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Agency (FAO), one in three fish caught does not make it onto our plates. As shocking as it may be, shallow-water images of tens of thousands of dead whites washed up in the Atlantic Ocean in February off La Rochelle, France, show only a tiny fraction of the wasted seas and oceans resources.

Posted at 9:00 am

Louise Leduc

Louise Leduc
Journalism

Accident or deliberate launch?

Photographic Archive Agency – Press France

Nearly 100,000 fish died off La Rochelle, France, last February. If the owner of the ship Margres He confirms that Grid fell, and Sea Shepherd believes it was intentional.

accident. A network that will fall off. The ship owner argued this Margres, one of the world’s largest fishing vessels, measuring over 130 meters in length, when the stunning images of a school of tens of thousands of dead fish were released by the Sea Shepherd organization. Who would rather believe in an intentional gesture. “The regulations, the organization recalls, prohibit the discharge of so-called bycatch. Normally, the shipowner is obligated to return to the pier, disembark, and declare the catch. This costs him time, fuel and therefore money. The temptation to finally release all of this at sea would be great […] And continue hunting. »

France has opened an investigation to determine whether and the circumstances of the accident actually occurred.

“dark ships”

The deliberate release of fish, which is carried out on the high seas far from the cameras, is nevertheless known to the authorities. In 2021, the Canadian government launched a program to detect “dark ships”, those boats whose position transmission devices have been turned off to practice illegal fishing with impunity. “This modern system will help Ecuador and the small island states of the Pacific region respond to illegal fishing, which affects the Galapagos Islands and the food and economic security of its people.” , Bernadette Jordan announced in 2021, then Canada’s Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

23 billion dollars a year

According to the Canadian government, unreported and unregulated fishing leads to the loss of about 26 million tons of fish caught, the equivalent of about $23 billion annually to the global economy.

Illegal fishing and poaching are not the only culprits. Pollution, lack of infrastructure in developing countries to keep fish cool until consumption and food preferences in industrialized countries become wasteful.

65% of fish is lost

In developing countries, up to 65% of fish wasted is due to a lack of proper technology to properly preserve fish until it reaches the plate, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Agency.

Weaknesses in governance and regulation (or in its application) explain other losses.

Alarm call from 290 researchers

In an open letter published in ScienceIn October, 290 researchers from 46 countries called for an agreement from the World Trade Organization that would ban various harmful practices. The signatories specifically refer to subsidies that reduce the cost of fuel and those that help in various ways ship owners whose practices rob the sea of ​​its resources.

Fish consumption is set to double by 2050 (United Nations Food and Agriculture Agency).

smart fishing nets

Is there a way to stop or at least curb all these losses? In addition to more restrictive regulations and better aid to poor countries, technology could be part of the answer. In France, smart fishing nets are being tested against non-essential catches. They make it possible to sort fish even before they are put on boats. Equipped with powerful cameras, sensors and analysis software, the device informs the fisherman in real time of the species being caught, their size and abundance.

If the caught fish is not of interest to the fisherman, a trap is opened and the fish is released.

More than two out of two fish are farmed

Since 2015, aquaculture has surpassed traditional fishing on the planet. More than half of the fish consumed is now farmed, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Agency (FAO).



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