Annual Profits In Global Fisheries Today Are About $3 Billion
World Bank Report declares that as fish populations are restored to historic abundance the profits in fishing will soar by more than 25 times to $83 Billion.
Setting aside the usual suspects list on both sides of the problem, aka those bad over-fishing folk and the campaigner for global governance, the World Bank has it almost right.
Like all pasture ‘livestock’ the health and abundance of fish depends on the condition of their ocean fish pasture. Today’s ocean pastures around the globe are fast becoming clear blue lifeless deserts.
WASHINGTON, February 14, 2017— Fishing less, and restoration of ocean fish pasture livestock/fish populations to historic levels of health and abundance, could generate an additional $83 billion each year for the fisheries sector, creating a much-needed revenue stream in developing countries and improving global food security, according to a new World Bank Group report.
The report titled ‘Sunken Billions Revisited‘, is an update on a 2009 study, shows global fish populations are in a dire state. Efforts to restore fish stocks and increase their weight, value and price of fish landed, will surely boost the profitability of the fisheries. It notes that the proportion of fisheries stocks that are fully exploited, overfished, depleted, or barely recovering increased from just over 60 percent in the mid-1970s to about 75 percent in 2005 and shockingly to very nearly 90 percent in 2013.
The collapse of profitability of global fisheries is so dramatic that the World Bank estimated with restoration the present $3 billion a year of fisheries profits will rise to $86 billion. Restoration of ocean pasture carrying capacity and the fish those pastures sustain will lead to vastly more fish being swimming into the nets of fishers and onto the plates of people. This will solve the growing global demand for seafood and improving food security in many countries around the world.
The World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development, states clearly that restoration of fish stocks will surely work. “Moving toward more sustainable fisheries management, through approaches that are tailored to local conditions, can yield significant benefits for food security, poverty reduction and long-term growth.”
The bio-economic model, developed in Iceland, used as the foundation for the WB Report examines allows for the massaging of the factors resulting in the mismatch between the increasingly high level of effort put into fishing and stagnant or worse declining fish catches, and calculates the incremental benefits that will be derived from global fisheries restoration. This is fundamental ‘animal husbandry’ pasture science.
More than a century ago the famous English author Walt Whitman wrote on the characteristics of man’s relationship with nature and with livestock that man depended upon, he said:
All beef is grass
Whitman’s premise for writing of ‘beef and grass’ was the crisis humanity faced, the loss of food security, when they did not take care of the grass and the pastures upon which that grass and the livestock grew.
Today the world’s oceans and their livestock, the fish, face the very same crisis and it is also true:
All fish is plankton
Point to ‘the usual suspects’ or chart a more egalitarian course to bring back the fish.
Ocean pasture stewardship and sustainable restoration
While the report makes a strong case for investing in the recovery of fish stocks, it does not prescribe a particular reform path save suggesting strongly that the problem and solution lies with the usual suspects, those bad over-fishing folk. While pointing such fingers of blame are ever popular and seemingly ‘politically correct’ the fix that path entails extracts a tremendous toll both on the existing fisheries industries and in the cost of creating global governance fisheries overlords.
The more appropriate solution to ocean fisheries collapse both in catch volume and profits lies in restoration of ocean pasture fish carrying capacity not merely militarizing and expanding the fisheries police to curtail the rampant overfishing of the last of declining fish stocks. Surely at the same time as ocean fish pastures are restored active, perhaps even aggressive, fisheries management will also be required until such time as the pastures have returned to historic abundance. But that time frame is very short.
Like A Bad Hollywood Movie
Will there be conflicts between the open range ‘rustlers’, ‘wild fish barrons’, and the shepherds, if Hollywood and Bollywood have taught us anything surely the answer is yes, but that will pass as it has in real human history as wildlands quickly became part of civilization.
Oceanographic, fisheries, and human societal influences in countries and regions as diverse as Peru, Morocco, the Pacific Islands and East and West Africa show there may be regional preferred pastoral methods. Plans to attain the goal of restoration of pastures and fisheries to historic levels of health and abundance that will work best via locally appropriate prescriptions that will improve not merely the health of the ocean pastures but also to the livelihoods and job security of coastal populations.
The need for ocean pasture restoration is greatest in the Indian Ocean, South Atlantic African coast, and amongst the Pacific Island nations. Transitioning to a sustainable level of ocean pasture carrying capacity and thus fisheries abundance in these regions will be relatively simple and low cost and such work will produce immediate improvement in catch and food security to where it is needed most by people who depend on fish to feed their families.
Bringing back the fish via sustainable ocean pasture restoration will preserve allowable fisheries catch and will only involve adapting nation level pasture management concepts long practiced on land to national ocean fish pastures. Such pasture policy and governance mechanisms are very well established at the global, national, and local/village levels on land. These adaptations will impose minimal costs on present stakeholders.
Moreover such ocean pasture management will result in the pasture resources becoming perhaps the single largest source of new economic/resource gain by coastal nations as they move to sustainable ocean pasture resource management. Existing fisheries will immediately experience a dramatic reduction in fishing costs as the catchable stocks increase.
Want to bring back the fish? Join me.