Coastal Zones and Fisheries
Fish: A resource with great potential
For millions of people, fisheries and allied industries (e.g. processing, boat-building) are often the only source of food and income. Fish is an important export product for many developing countries. The fishing industry, however, finds itself under increasing pressure. According to estimates by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), 52% of fish stocks worldwide have been exploited to their maximum threshold, 17% have been overfished, and 8% of stocks of commercially important species have been exhausted.
Fish stocks under threat worldwide
The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which entered into force in 1994, extended exploitation rights to coastal states while giving them the responsibility for managing aquatic resources in their 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zones (EEZ). However, due to inadequate regulation and control of access to fish stocks, excessive fishing fleet size and capacity, and rapid growth of the global fish trade, over-fishing continues to be a problem. International agreements and conventions have now increased public awareness of fishing issues.
At the centre of attention: Sustainable resource management
GTZ provides support to the relevant authorities and fishermen’s interest groups, thereby contributing to sustainable fisheries management. This helps to improve income opportunities for people whose livelihood depends on fishing. Activities focus on:
- responsible fisheries (fishing policy, fisheries management, trade)
- responsible aquaculture (production, certification, trade)
- integrated coastal zone management.
For the fisheries sector, the most vital areas for action include introducing binding user rights for fishermen, supporting fisheries management and fish processing, and promoting environmentally sound and sustainable aquaculture. GTZ assists partner countries in compliance with the international Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (CCRF).
Looking beyond the rim of our teacup: Alternatives to fisheries
Aquaculture is becoming increasingly important, because the growing demand for fish can only be met in the medium term by finding alternatives to marine fishing. Production from fish farms is growing by around ten per cent annually. The largest share of this comes from developing countries, and particularly small-scale producers.
One example of GTZ work relating to aquatic resource management is the ProVárzea project in Amazonia, Brazil. With the involvement of civil society, management programmes have been devised and strategies for sustainable use of natural resources implemented. By regulating access to and use of resources, this project secures incomes in the long term, especially for poor population groups. This project has come to be regarded as an international model.
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