International co-operation will open up new opportunities for sustainable global fishing

St. Petersburg has hosted the official opening of the 2nd Global Fishery Forum, the main event being the plenary session “Global fishing activities 2050: resources, markets, technologies”.

The participants in this key event included Russia’s Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Head of Rosrybolovtstvo Ilya Shestakov, Høgni Hoydal, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Fisheries of the Faroe Islands, Bjørn Kunoy, Adviser and Minister, Embassy of the Kingdom of Denmark in Russia, Deputy Director, Fishing and aquaculture policy and resources department, FAO, Audun Lem, Anne Christine Brusendorff, General Secretary, ICES, Dr. Richard Beamish, honourable representative of the Vancouver Maritime Institute, Minister for Agriculture, Sea Fishing, Development of Rural Territories, Internal Water Bodies and Forestry of the Kingdom of Morocco Aziz Ahannush, and Alexei Rakhmanov, President of AO United Shipbuilding Corporations.

The main topics of the session were forecasting the development of global fishing up to 2050 giving the increasing world population, strategies for minimizing risks for foodstuffs shortages, co-operation in the sphere of development of domestic fishing, as well as studies of water bioresources and their habitat in light of the ongoing climate change.

Head of Rosrybolovstvo Ilya Shestakov stressed at the beginning of his speech that the first fishery Forum held last year had prompted an important conclusion. “The dilemma of competition or co-operation may be transformed into the formula: co-operation in management during competition on end markets. It is pleasing that the initiative of organizing an international industry venue for open dialogue has received support and Russia is again the host country this year for fishing industry professionals from all over the world”, he noted. “After all, we are currently coming up against new global challenges that even the most powerful countries cannot resist on their own.”

In the middle of the 21st century, we will need to provide food for over 9 billion people. Moreover, the growth rate of fish consumption in the world is double that of the global population. “Consequently, the fishing industry will have a vital role in the future in resolving the problem of starvation and improving mankind’s diet”, Ilya Shestakov underlined.

Global warming and the rapidly changing structure and distribution of the resource base are serious challenges for fish resource management. Worthy of equal attention are the risks involved in management of global stocks. “We believe that management of resources in open water should not be concentrated in the hands of a single organization. In our opinion, it should remain with efficiently operating regional fishing organizations”, the head of Rosrybolovstvo expressed Russia’s view.

According to him, current Russian and foreign research allows total water bioresource stocks to be estimated a from 2 to 20 billion tonnes. “Given the minimum permissible catch of no more than 10% of the biomass of these new, potentially available stocks of water bioresources, the annual catch of bioresources for the whole world could be 200–250 m tonnes, this exceeding today’s annual catch of all countries almost 2.5-fold”, Ilya Shestakov described the prospects. “The main strategic reserves of the water bioresources of the World Ocean consist of mesopelagic fish, Antarctic krill, and deep-water resources. These are the priority in Russia’s Strategy for development of the fishing complex. We all just need to learn to catch them and efficiently process them, to develop the technologies for their processing for food purposes, pharmaceuticals and so on”.

Anne Christine Brusendorff, General Secretary, ICES. Also spoke about applying scientific knowledge for developing the fishing economy and elaborating strategies for long-term management of fish stocks. According to this specialist, the ICES is a good example of how scientific co-operation will help ensure sustainable use of water bioresources on the future and understand the risks and real opportunities of aquaculture, provide the required recommendations for industry and country heads for them to pass effective and responsible decisions.

Dr. Richard Beamish, honourable representative of the Vancouver Maritime Institute, talked about the possibilities of today’s science, noting the difficulty of forecasting Pacific salmon. The specialist pointed out that the priority task up to 2050 for the global scientific community is to reach an understanding of the impact of natural factors on water bioresource stocks and ecosystems and to create mechanisms for long-term forecasting.

Audun Lem, Deputy Director of the FAO Department for fishing and aquaculture policy and resources, talked about the still unresolved problem of hunger: over 800 million people are undernourished because of a shortage of food and poverty. The fight against hunger remains pressing, the solution lying in expanding production, including of the fishing industry, in which a large number of people may be involved. The FAO representative lays great hopes in the Port Management Strategy currently being adopted.

During his speech, Minister for Agriculture, Sea Fishing, Development of Rural Territories, Internal Water Bodies and Forestry of the Kingdom of Morocco Aziz Ahannush expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to become acquainted with a number of potential investors at the Seafood Exhibition. According to him, Morocco has great potential for developing its fishing industry. He also noted that co-operation with Russia is at a high level under international agreements. “This makes possible development of co-operation with Russian Partners”, Aziz Ahannush stressed.

Alexei Rakhmanov spoke about the tasks of providing the fishing industry with modern scientific research and fishing industry vessels. The proposed projects are based on the latest technologies. In the opinion of the head of the Association, 5–8 vessels of each types need to be built. “We should renew our refrigerator fleet, which was built using obsolete technologies with the output stored only in the holds, and create new vessels capable of loading refrigerator containers straight on to railways”, said Alexei Rakhmanov.