Increase fines: Ocean stocks in jeopardy

THERE seems to be a growing sense that the worst excesses of commercial fishing on our oceans and their fish stocks cannot be policed in a way that reflects the threat huge, modern trawlers, equipped with state-of-the-art fish-finding technology, pose to once-abundant species.

This threat is exacerbated by the fact that about 60% of the world’s seas lie outside the jurisdiction of individual states.

Over-fishing, along with climate change, population growth, pollution, and coastal development, suggests that radical action is needed almost immediately to confront this situation.

The UN has proposed a new, legally binding agreement on high-seas biodiversity to help close regional gaps in governance and compel existing fishery bodies to impose reform.

In the light of events as late as just last week, it is hard not to think sanctions that reflect the scale of the industry, rather than slap-on-the-wrist fines, would be helpful too.

After all, a fine of €100,000, say, means little enough to a multi-million enterprise.


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