APRIL 21 2014 - The Brussels Seafood Expo Global hosted a debate entitled “EU Markets Driving Good Governance in Fisheries”. The talk, led by European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella, addressed the issue of illegal fishing and the steps taken by the EU to fight it. Guus Pastoor, President of the European Fish Processors Association, spoke about labeling in relation to illegal fishing. Other speakers included Korean Vice-Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Kim Young-Suk as well as top representatives of NGOs and of the British Retail Consortium.
The EU is the largest seafood importer in the world by value, importing 24% of the global total, and as such wields considerable power to change behaviors and promote good governance through international trade incentives. Prior to the Regulation that came into force in 2010, an estimated €1.1 billion worth of illegally caught fish may have been imported into the EU.
The University of British Columbia estimates the global losses due to illegal fishing at $10-23 billion a year, or up to 26 million tonnes of fish – i.e. at least 15% of the world’s catches. Aside from the financial implications, illegal fishing depletes fish stocks and damages ocean ecosystems. The vessels implicated in these activities seem to be also linked to other forms of organised crime; human rights violations are not uncommon aboard them.
Karmenu Vella was born on 19 June 1950, in Zurrieq and is the eldest of three children. He is a Maltese politician and one of the longest serving Maltese Parliamentarians with the Malta Labour Party. Karmenu attended the Lyceum Secondary School, continuing his education at the University of Malta's Junior College untill 1968. He attended the Royal University of Malta where he gained a Bachelor of Arts in Architectural Studies in 1970, and then graduated as an Architect and Civil Engineer in 1973. Between 1998 and 2000 he studied at Sheffield Hallam University where he was awarded a Master of Science degree in Tourism.
PARLIAMENT & GOVERNMENT
Tightening up the policing of the oceans will not stop the current trend of fish stock decline, neither will hunting down fishing pirates halt global warming. So, enjoy your fish and chips while you can - and while savoring one of your Friday night favorites, remember that at the moment by paying for fish caught by bottom trawlers, you are helping to destroy the marine environment. Why not ask your chippie how his suppliers catch their fish? While you are at it, why not ask your supermarket how their fish is caught!
Tons of plastic floating in our oceans is a serious problem we face on this globe, considered to be one of most serious threats to our oceans. 90% of all trash floating on the ocean’s surface is in the form of plastic materials, with 46,000 pieces of plastic per square mile. Plastic does not biodegrade, it photo-degrades with sunlight, breaking down into smaller and smaller pieces. These plastic pieces are eaten by marine life and eventually works it way up the food chain - as per the diagram below.
TIMES OF MALTA, OCTOBER 2014
European Parliament sources told the Times of Malta newspaper that in their initial reaction, MEPs were generally satisfied with Mr Vella’s performance, even though he exhibited weaknesses on the environment. The commissioner-designate was deemed to have been well prepared on fisheries and assertive when answering questions on hunting.
On this evidence coordinators expressed their confidence that the commissioner-designate was capable of mastering his portfolio and cooperating with EP committees.
Fishing is an essential activity for sustainable food supply. Over-fishing costs the global economy around $50 billion dollars a year.
When a pirate fishing vessel sinks with its cargo intact, not only is the ship lost, but also the food onboard that is needed to feed the world.
LINKS & REFERENCE
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