October 16th marks World Food Day, a day that commemorates the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) 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, Pole Star will be exploring the fishing industry to celebrate World Food Day.
What does World Food Day aim to achieve?
In 2015, UN countries adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), ranging from ending poverty and hunger, to reducing gender and inter-country inequalities. With over 821 million people suffering from hunger worldwide, World Food Day strives to promote universal awareness and action for those that are malnourished and, in turn, achieve the SDGs.
Why are fish important to feeding the planet?
Seafood provides sustenance for billions of people worldwide, with approximately 3 billion people relying on fish 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 widespread nutritional deficiencies, with even small quantities providing essential amino acids, iron, calcium, and omega-3. There is also 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). It is because of these benefits that seafood is so crucial to a healthy diet and, with malnutrition affecting 1 in 3 people (projected to be 1 in 2 by 2025), the importance of fish in feeding the planet is ever-increasing.
The importance of fish does not stop at its nutritional value; the industry itself currently employs nearly 60 million people, with over 200 million directly and indirectly employed by marine fisheries.
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, including 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.
Over the years, fish stocks have deteriorated due to overfishing and continue to do so due to IUU fishing practices and many flag states not having the necessary resources to manage their coastlines and EEZ’s. The societal impact of this has been devastating, with coastal communities unable to maintain their fishing livelihoods and having to find alternative means of supporting themselves and their families.
While the proportion of world marine fish stocks that fall within biologically sustainable levels has also drastically declined (from 90% in 1974 to 68.8% in 2013), they have slowed and stabilised since 2008, suggesting that preventative measures can alter the course of this particular sinking ship.
What does 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 providing services to various agencies including, North and South America, as well as Australia and in the past have worked with the South Pacific Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) and Western Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) as well 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.
Happy World Food Day from the Pole Star team!
For more information on Pole Star VMS services, click here.
For more information & resources on World Food Day 2019, click here.