International Secretariat for sustainable fisheries opens in Stockholm

Published on May 6, 2004

Today, a new non-profit organisation committed to work towards more sustainable fisheries is officially launched by the Swedish Minister of Agriculture & Fisheries. The Stockholm-based Fisheries Secretariat is hoping to change fisheries policy in the EU and internationally through co-operation, information and lobbying. It has a particular mission to support and help other organisations, as well as the public, with information and knowledge.

During the 20th Century, the pressure on the marine environment has increased continuously. Scientists estimate that around 30 per cent of the world’s commercial fish stocks are overfished or depleted and almost 50 per cent are used to the limits of their capacity. In the Northeast Atlantic the situation is even worse. According to the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES), only 18 per cent of the 113 commercial fish stocks assessed in 2001 were within safe biological limits.

”One of the main reasons for the global decline in fish stocks and the deterioration of the wider marine environment is fishing, but pollution, eutrophication and climate change are also taking their toll”, says Niki Sporrong, Director of the new Fisheries Secretariat. ”To protect our oceans and secure healthy fish stocks as well as a healthy marine environment, united efforts in all sectors that affect the seas are necessary.”

The Secretariat will work towards more sustainable fisheries through information, cooperation and lobbying at an international level, but with a focus on the European Union.

”Despite efforts in recent years, both internationally and in the EU, to make fisheries more sustainable, real change has been slow. What we need is a management system firmly based on the precautionary principle and a fisheries sector that works within the limits of the marine ecosystem”, says Niki Sporrong.

The Stockholm-based Secretariat was set up in 2003 by three environmental NGOs:the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, WWF Sweden and the Swedish Anglers’Association. It is currently funded by the Swedish Government. The work is led by Director Niki Sporrong together with Lotta Järnmark.

For more information, please contact:
Niki Sporrong, Director FISH, +46 708 53 12 25
Stefan Nyström, chairman FISH, +46 708 44 88 75
Lotta Järnmark, FISH, +46 8 704 44 84