Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Quality mark provides better protection for fish stocks than does the WTO

10.12.2008
The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), a foundation dedicated to maintaining the health and viability of our oceans, has more of an impact in the area of overfishing than all the agreements entered into by the World Trade Organisation (WTO), concludes dr. Peter Oosterveer of the Environmental Policy group at Wageningen University in the December issue of Ocean and Coastal Management.

There is a great need for global regulations according to the environmental sociologist, as globalisation is making it impossible for national governments or bodies such as the EU to regulate the fishing industry and the related fish processing and trading sectors.

Oosterveer therefore compared the relative contributions by WTO regulations and by the MSC to stopping the global deterioration in the stocks of fish in the wild. In brief Oosterveer explains his findings in Resource, magazine for Wageningen University and Research Centre.

The WTO does not deal with the fishing industry itself – that is left to the discretion of national governments – but it does deal with the fish trade. WTO members are presently discussing the abolition of subsidies given by governments to their fishermen, as this leads to unfair competition. Fishing countries such as the USA and New Zealand as well as fishery experts such as Daniel Pauly support such a move, as subsidies encourage unprofitable fishing activities, according to Oosterveer. “But the negotiating parties have not yet agreed on how to deal with the smaller fishermen and on how much of an impact they have on the fish stocks.”

Although the abolition of subsidies can have a positive impact on fish stocks, Oosterveer does not have high expectations of the WTO as a global regulator. “Sustainability requirements play almost no role at all in the negotiations. Besides, they have been deadlocked for 2 years already. In addition, it's impossible to predict what kind of fishing agreements will eventually result. Fishing activities are only one element of the negotiations and can therefore be used as something to be given up in return for reaching agreement on the overall package.”

The MSC was established 11 years ago by Unilever, which was concerned about the availability of sufficient fish for its fish sticks, and by the Worldwide Fund for Nature, which was concerned about biodiversity. The result was a sustainability quality mark to distinguish fish which complies with the relevant requirements. By now, 3.5 million tons of fish foodstuff products, representing 7% of the global catch of fish and crustaceans, display this quality mark. Now that all Dutch supermarkets have agreed that, starting in 2011, they will sell only products displaying the MSC quality mark, this percentage will increase.

But MSC also has its limitations, explains Oosterveer. “The fish products concerned are sold primarily in wealthy countries in the northern hemisphere. This is because MSC enters into agreements with fishermen, traders and retailers throughout the chain. This requires the availability of sustainability indicators and supply chain management, which is a difficult issue in developing countries.” As it turns out, it proved difficult to enter into agreements with shrimp farmers in Southeast Asia. “A great many fish farmers are involved, and they work in very poor conditions. But it's not easy to take social circumstances into account within the framework of assigning the quality mark.”

Nevertheless, Oosterveer considers the type of approach illustrated by the MSC quality mark to be a promising one. “Compared to the WTO approach which ends up deadlocked on technical and political issues, this private initiative is a much more dynamic one.”

Jac Niessen | alfa
Further information:
http://www.wur.nl

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product
02.12.2016 | Purdue University

nachricht New findings about the deformed wing virus, a major factor in honey bee colony mortality
11.11.2016 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>