Subject: Fish Crisis (fwd)

Mike Williamson (
Tue, 3 Jun 1997 13:34:23 -0400 (EDT)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue,  3 Jun 97 11:50:00 GMT 
Subject: Fish Crisis

Fish Crisis

 Associated Press Writer
   GENEVA (AP) -- Government subsidies have so bloated the world's
fishing industry that it is wiping out fish faster than they can
reproduce, the United Nations and a leading environmental
organization said Monday.
   The World Wide Fund for Nature and the U.N. Environment Program
urged top fishing nations to slash the $50 billion-plus subsidies
which they blamed for the global fisheries crises.
   Governments pour the money into overcompetitive fishing fleets
that continue to lose money and deplete fish stocks at an alarming
rate, they said.
   A World Wide Fund for Nature report estimates the world's
fishing industry spends $124 billion annually to generate revenues
of $70 billion. That means taxpayers have to make up the other $54
   Uncontrolled fishing and the throwing away of unwanted catches
have decimated world marine stocks, driving once common species
like cod and halibut to commercial extinction and threatening the
livelihood of tens of millions of people, the U.N. and nature
groups said.
   Subsidies artificially inflate the profitability of fishing,
stimulating new investment and encouraging fishers to remain in
over-fished waters, WWF International Director General Claude
Martin told reporters.
   "They send the wrong economic signal to participants in
depleted fisheries by creating incentives for ... high levels of
fishing," Martin said.
   During the past four decades, the capacity of the world's
fishing fleets has increased five-fold while the productivity of
most of the world's major fishing areas has declined, the WWF and
U.N. report said.
   Species particularly vulnerable are those that congregate to
spawn, such as haddock, cod and grouper, along with those that
migrate across national fishing zones where they are heavily fished
in each of the zones, such as tuna, billfish and sharks.
   The World Wide Fund for Nature also said evidence is mounting
that fishing activities destroy oceanecosystems and reduce the
diversity of ocean life as bottom trawls, longlines and drift nets
batter the ocean floor.
   Worse, each year indiscriminate fishing methods catch between 18
million to 40 million tons of unwanted fish, sea birds, sea
turtles, and marine mammals such as dolphins, which are dumped back