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 New insight into why Pierce's disease is so deadly to grapevines
11.06.2018 | University of California - Davis

nachricht Where are Europe’s last primary forests?
29.05.2018 | Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

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: Temperature-controlled fiber-optic light source with liquid core

In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.

Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Graphene assembled film shows higher thermal conductivity than graphite film

22.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

Fast rising bedrock below West Antarctica reveals an extremely fluid Earth mantle

22.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

Zebrafish's near 360 degree UV-vision knocks stripes off Google Street View

22.06.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>