COP15 Failure to Address Overfishing Highlights Need for “Crucial” Reform


The emergence of an agreement avoiding meaningful action against overfishing at the COP15 conference highlights the urgent need to reform the governance structure that has enabled industrial fishing interests to plunder the oceans for decades.

“The scant mention of oceans and the inaction on overfishing at a crucial global conference on biodiversity is a clear indication that world decision-makers are throwing up their hands about fixing the framework for international fisheries management,” said Ryan Orgera, global director for Accountability.Fish, a campaign to bring greater openness to the fisheries management process, which is divided among 17 autonomous Regional Fisheries Management Organizations, or RFMOs..  

“We need action, not abdication. We need openness, not closed-door meetings where a few bad actors are free to sabotage what they see fit. Openness can shed light on decisions with massive ecological and economic impact affecting fish and people alike, and make them far more susceptible to public, consumer and environmental influence.

While oceans were rarely mentioned in the document, the word “fisheries” was actually deleted, according to a report in The Guardian.

“Fisheries are key to our environmental and economic health as a planet, and this dismal COP15 performance demonstrates that governments are not willing to take the step of initiating crucially-needed RFMO reforms. Citizens, consumers, and those who depend on our fisheries need to step up and drive the reforms we desperately need, and we are committed to making that happen.”

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