World Ocean fishing: Cooperation or competition?

Conflicting national interests in convention and foreign waters are to be the spotlight on the first day of the Global Fishery Forum.

On 14 September, the Global Fishery Forum will throw open its doors in St Petersburg, Russia. The Forum’s business programme has attracted representatives from the world’s leading fishing nations, including heads of fisheries agencies, major companies and non-commercial associations. The plenary session titled A global view of fishing in the World Ocean: cooperation or competition? is to be the highlight of the Forum’s first day. Minister of Agriculture of the Russian Federation Alexander Tkachev, Minister of Fisheries of the Kingdom of Norway Per Sandberg, State Undersecretary of Fisheries and Aquaculture Pablo Maturana, Minister of Industry and Agriculture of the European Economic Commission Sergei Sidorsky, Executive Secretary of the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean and the Black Sea of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization Abdellah Srour, President of the Japanese  Fisheries Association Toshiro Shirasu, and General Secretary of the China Pelagic Fishing Association Huang Baoshan are all expected to join the discussions.

The session will be moderated by Andrew Mallison, General Director of the IFFO The Marine Ingredients Organisation.

Members of the plenary session will address key issues in promoting national fishing interests in zones covered by international agreements and in special economic areas of third countries.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, the global commercial fishing volume exceeded 93 million tonnes. Russia ranks 4th among the world’s leading fishing nations behind China, Indonesia and the USA. In the past few years, harvests have been growing owing to the development of fish farming against the backdrop of contracting fish resources. 2014 saw an important milestone when the contribution by the world’s aquaculture to the total catch exceeded that of capture fisheries. According to a study held by the Food and Agriculture Organization, the share of the world’s fish stocks that can be exploited without impairing bio-sustainability has dropped from 90% in 1974 to 69% nowadays. Considering the trends, meeting the ever-growing demand for fish and sea products now looms as an unavoidable and extremely difficult task.

“We would like to create a communications platform for representatives of global fishing nations to meet: government agencies, business and industrial associations. We are faced with a lot of global problems we have to address and find a balance of interests. One of the challenges is to ensure food security and maintain the biodiversity of the World Ocean in the context of growing consumption and intensifying competition for natural resources”, head of the Federal Agency for Fishery Ilya Shestakov said.

“In September, St. Petersburg will host delegations from countries responsible for half the world’s catch of aquatic bioresources and two thirds of the global aquaculture production”, President of the All-Russian Association of Fish Breeders, Entrepreneurs and Exporters and member of the Forum’s Organizing Committee German Zverev said.

The Global Fishery Forum and the Seafood Expo international exhibition of fishery, seafood and know-how are scheduled to take place in St. Petersburg at the Lenexpo Exhibition Complex on September 14–16. The Forum’s business programme features a plenary session, a conference and seven panel sessions.