Today marks World Food Day, a day used by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to commemorate the founding of the Organization in 1945. World Food Day is celebrated in over 150 countries, with events that help combat world hunger, malnutrition and food insecurity. As the digital eyes and ears of the sea, this year Pole Star will be exploring the fishing industry to celebrate World Food Day.
Why is fish important to feeding the planet?
Seafood provides sustenance for billions of people worldwide, with approximately 3 billion people relying on seafood as their primary source of protein. Fish and fish products play a significant role in nutrition, containing many of the vitamins and minerals needed to address some of the most severe and widespread nutritional deficiencies. Even small quantities, fish contains essential amino acids, fats, iron, vitamin D, and calcium. There is evidence to show that fish consumption can aid mental health, contribute to the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, strokes and age-related macular degeneration. (FAO and WHO, 2011).
The importance of fish does not stop at its nutritional value; the industry itself currently employs nearly 60 million people., with the majority of those employed by capture fisheries working in small-scale operations in developing countries. The first-sale value of all fisheries and aquaculture was calculated at $362 billion in 2016.
Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing
World fish stocks face rapid depletion from intensive legal fishing activities, but also from illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. IUU fishing refers to fishing activities that are not compliant with regional, national, or international fisheries conservation or management measures, and contributes to the destruction of marine habitats, the distortion of competition, and the weakening of coastal communities.
• Illegal fishing refers to fishing activities that violate national or international terms. Examples of this include fishing without a license, keeping undersized fish, or engaging in the transhipment of fish.
• Unregulated fishing refers to fishing activities in areas with no applicable national, regional, or international conservation or management measures.
• Unreported fishing occurs when fishing activity has not been properly recorded, often due to lack of data collection or poor management.
While IUU fishing is a global problem accounting for roughly 15% of total catches annually, it occurs most often in high seas pockets or areas outside of a country’s EEZ. Over the years, fish stocks have deteriorated drastically due to overfishing. Further decline in fish stocks continue today due to IUU fishing practices and because many flag states do not have necessary resources to manage their coastlines and EEZ’s
The societal impact around the world has been devastating. Coastal communities that have for generations had fishing as a livelihood can no longer stay in business and must find other ways to support their families and the local community. An example of the dire situation is the Somali pirate problem, directly linked to foreign vessels entering Somali waters and illegally taking fish without a license or permit. Somali fisherman saw the need to act, since the government could not, and they attacked a foreign fishing vessel and held this for ransom.
What can Pole Star do to help?
Pole Star is widely recognised as a leading provider of fisheries Vessel Monitoring System (VMS), Vessel Tracking Unit (VTU), and satellite airtime (VMS reporting services) to the regulatory and commercial fisheries sector. Since 1998 we have continued to serve multiple government agencies, RFMOs, fishing companies, and fishermen worldwide.
Today, we support the wider fisheries sector, and have provided VMS services to several clients, including:
- Australian Fisheries Management Agency (AFMA)
- Connecticut Dept. of Agriculture, Division of Aquaculture – United States
- INMARBE Belize High Seas Fisheries - Belize
- Department of Fisheries – Thailand
- South Pacific Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA)
In the past, we have also worked with the Western Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) and the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).
We provide a broad array of business applications, satellite communications services, and specialised VMS hardware kits to industry. Over 2500 VMS users utilise our services presently and are backed up by a dedicated and professionally seasoned team of in-country professionals.
For more information on Pole Star VMS services, click here.
Happy World Food Day from the Pole Star team!
For more information & resources on World Food Day 2018, click here.