Our oceans are a vital source of food for much of the world’s population. Fishing, whether it takes place at sea or in inshore fisheries, holds economic and cultural importance in many countries: some have amassed formidable fleets of open water fishing vessels, some have found a niche in artisanal fishing, while others are developing fisheries and modern forms of aquaculture.
In recent decades the volume of fish caught or farmed for human consumption has grown substantially, aided by improvements in processing, refrigeration and transportation. However, we are now so efficient at taking fish from the oceans that many populations are being fished beyond biologically sustainable limits meaning that many stocks are in decline.
Sustainability of fishing depends on robust management and the capacity to effectively monitor and implement responsible practices in both coastal areas and high seas. However, there is not uniform implementation and enforcement of the rules leading to illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing. This not only threatens fish stocks but puts crews at risk, harms local communities and, due to inaccurate catch data, undermines regulatory efforts to prevent over-exploitation.
Meanwhile, the climate crisis is making the oceans warmer, more acidic, depleted in oxygen and altering global oceanic currents. These changes are having a profound impact on the ocean food web, putting further pressure on populations especially in tropical regions. They may, however, create new opportunities in historically temperate regions.
To prevent stocks declining irrevocably, there is a clear need for enhanced professional development and guidance for stakeholders across the industry to achieve globally improved management practices.
Global Fisheries Improvements is a Special Interest Group (SIG) dedicated to addressing these challenges by bringing together experts in fisheries science, management and governance. The SIG will enable the IMarEST to provide targeted support for fisheries professionals and contribute to international initiatives that aim to improve management practices. It will promote best practice for managing environmental challenges and offer new opportunities for professional development.
To get involved in this new SIG to support global fisheries improvements, register your interest in becoming a member of the committee by contacting .
Select a SIG
Connect with this Special Interest Group on Nexus, the networking and collaboration tool for members of the IMarEST.