- The oceans are huge commons, with less than 2 percent legally protected.
- About 85 percent of fish stocks is fully exploited, overexploited, depleted or recovering.
- About 1 billion people in developing countries depend on fish as their primary source of protein.
- Oceans have economic value – and a stampede is on the way to collect the resources.
“A powerful coalition of governments, international organizations, civil society groups and private interests are joining under the banner of a Global Partnership for Oceans to confront widely documented problems of over-fishing, marine degradation and habitat loss,” notes a World Bank press release.
The goal is to assist countries with sound ocean management: “The World Bank’s PROFISH program recommends ending open access to fisheries and the single-minded competition for fish in favor of strengthening fishing rights for fishers. Well defined and secure fishing rights provide strong incentives to fishers, communities, and fishery associations to stop waste and overfishing, many believe. Management systems that provide these kinds of rights, backed by force of law, are successfully used in Australia, Canada, Estonia, Greenland, Iceland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and the United States.”
Image of “Pauvre pêcheur ” by Gauguin courtesy of the São Paulo Museum of Art and Wikimedia Commons.