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Dive into Fisheries

Updated: Apr 21


What is it?

Fisheries refer to the activity of harvesting wild fish and other aquatic species from oceans, rivers, and lakes. While the fisheries provide us with a vital source of livelihood and foods for million people worldwide, it has for a long time been plagued by unsustainable practices which has threaten the ecosystems they rely on. Fisheries is not just about the act of fishing but encompasses the entire chain of processes involved in catching, processing, marketing, and managing fish and seafood products. Fisheries are classified into commercial, recreational, and subsistence fishing, and they vary widely in scale, methods, and management practices.


Why Care?  

- Ecosystem Balance: Healthy fish populations are vital for maintaining the balance of aquatic ecosystems.

- Food Security: Fisheries are a crucial source of food, providing essential nutrients to approximately 3 billion people worldwide.

- Economic Importance: The sector supports the livelihoods of millions, especially in coastal communities, and contributes significantly to the global economy.

- Cultural Heritage: Fishing is deeply embedded in the cultural fabric of many societies and is integral to their identities and traditions.


What are the main Challenges?

We need to find a balance between mankind’s need for wild caught resources and the regeneration of marine ecosystems. While 3 Billion people rely on the ocean as their primary source of protein, without regenerative practices this source will not sustain to feed coming generations. The ocean is being depleted of aquatic species in an alarming rate due to primarily the below reasons

  • Pollution: Ghost fishing nets, plastic waste and toxic waste water are alarming threats to the health of aquatic species.

  • Overfishing: One of the most significant issues is overfishing, which leads to the depletion of fish stocks and disruption of marine ecosystems.

  • Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing (IUU): IUU fishing undermines efforts to manage fisheries sustainably and can have devastating environmental and economic impacts.

  • Climate Change: Changing ocean temperatures and acidity levels are affecting fish populations and migration patterns, posing challenges for fisheries management.

  • Socio-Economic Issues: Ensuring equitable access to fisheries resources and fair distribution of benefits among all stakeholders, including small-scale fishers, is a complex challenge.


What are the Good Practices?

  • Global cooperation and strong governance frameworks are essential to address transboundary issues and ensure equitable and sustainable use of fisheries resources.

  • Sustainable Fishing Practices: Innovations in sustainable fishing techniques, such as selective gear or eco-labeling, help reduce environmental impacts and promote responsible fishing.

  • Global cooperation and strong governance frameworks are essential to address transboundary issues and ensure equitable and sustainable use of fisheries resources.

  • Fisheries Management: Advances in fisheries science and management, including stock assessments and quota systems, are improving the sustainability of fish stocks.

  • Community-Based Management: There is a growing movement towards community-led fisheries management, empowering local stakeholders in conservation and management efforts.

  • Aquaculture Integration: The integration of aquaculture and traditional fishing practices is offering new ways to meet seafood demand sustainably.


What goes on in the Innovation landscape - are there any exciting Start-Ups?

The future of fisheries lies in achieving a balance between meeting global seafood demand and preserving marine ecosystems. Embracing sustainable fishing practices, effective management strategies, and innovative technologies is crucial for the long-term viability of fisheries. The sector is evolving towards more integrated and holistic approaches, recognizing the need for sustainability to maintain the health of both marine ecosystems and human communities that depend on them.


Amidst the challenges which emerge on fisheries, we find a beacon of hope in startups like SafetyNet Technologies, pioneering innovative solutions to revolutionise the fishing industry. Bycatch is a huge problem wasting life unintentionally caught outside approved fish stock quotas, and this by-catch includes dolphins, turtles and sharks.

SafetyNet Technologies is a London-based start-up which was founded by Fiona Houston and Dan Watson. Their mission is to tackle the issues facing the fishing industry, with an innovative approach harnessing tech to minimise the bycatch for more sustainable fisheries.


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