A fisherman on Lake Iranduba in Brazil’s Amazon region.
Photo: Andy Eames/AP/Scanpix
For a big part of the world’s population, fishing provides not only some of the most important nutrients, but is also the only source of income. This is why it is the most vulnerable people who are most affected by overfishing and climate change.
Fish is the primary source of animal protein for about 1 billion people around the world, and at the same time it is also a source of income for nearly 200 million people. The fact that the majority of the world’s fishermen live along coastlines of countries with widespread poverty makes fishery an important occupation for economic development. In addition, the export revenues from fishing and other aquaculture in these countries exceed the total export revenues from rice, coffee, tea and cocoa.
Unfortunately, people living along coastal areas can no longer rely on their immediate territorial waters to be a dependable source for fish supply. Large-scale industrial fishing has simply become so potent that some fish species are threatened to extinct. Illegal fishing also constitutes a considerable threat to availability of fish and shellfish. The situation is hardly improved by the fact that in many areas climate change and environmental pollution are affecting the ecological balance of seas.
Guidelines for sustainable fishing
Sida's direct aid to fishing makes up just below one per cent of the total funding to agriculture and food security (2012).
As a part of Sida and Sweden’s efforts to contribute to economic development and securing access to food for people living in poverty, Sida supports both the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). In both cases, the support is allocated to both global and regional programmes.
This support has resulted in the formulation of guidelines for interventions that will help deal with emissions of land-based pollution, unsatisfactory management of sensitive marine ecosystems and illegal fishing, and promote the joint management of cross-border fish stocks in areas as e.g. Western and Eastern Africa.
In the early 90s, Sida and the former development- and research authority SAREC established a regional marine research- and capacity programme in Eastern Africa, WIOMSA (Western Indian Ocean Marince Science Association) that still gathers academic knowledge from the region and uses it to formulate advisory policies. The programme also contributes to the increase of marine knowledge by supporting local researchers.
In addition, Sida has established a marine council in Sweden that serves as a forum for holistic and strategic discussion and advice. The council engages representatives from Sida, the Swedish Board of Fisheries, the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, the Swedish Maritime Administration, the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF), and the Fisheries Secretariat.