The recently concluded international conference on ‘Ecosystem Conservation, Climate Change and Sustainable Development (ECOCASD 2013)’ has called for a balance between traditional and industrial fishing to achieve sustainability of fish harvest in the era of climate change.
The seminar, organised by the Department of Aquatic Biology and Fisheries, University of Kerala in association with the Directorate of Environment and Climate Change, Government of Kerala in association with Ambo University, Ethiopia, Department of Environmental Sciences and Centre for Marine Biodiversity, University of Kerala, AET Institutions, Bangalore and Sree Ayyappa College for Women, Nagercoil has come to the conclusion that further investments in large-scale industrial fishing would be a waste of resources.
Daniel Pauly, professor, University of British Columbia (UBC), Canada who delivered the keynote address said that the global fish catch is on the decline and that investment in this sector is not going to pay for the future.
“The age of large trawlers and geographical expansion of fishing is slowly coming to an end. What India needs to do instead is focus on its small-scale fishing industry,” said Daniel Pauly, who believes that ocean warming has already affected fisheries around the world.
ECOCASD urged the government to declare more Marine Protected Areas to conserve marine resources and to ensure sustainability of marine fishery resources. Further, research on documentation of marine biodiversity should be strengthened to realise the potential along Indian coast.
Further, ECOCASD noted the absence of protected areas for freshwater biodiversity conservation. ECOCASD urged the Ministry of Environment and Forests to include critically endangered fish species in India under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act.
“Rising sea temperatures would further stress species already struggling to recover from decades of past overfishing and damage to seafloor habitat and therefore top priority should be given to conserve habitat to support healthy fish,” Daniel Pauly said.
The ECOCASD demanded integration of actions related to conservation and sustainable use of natural resources by re-orienting strategies relating to production sectors such as agriculture, fisheries, forestry, tourism, energy, infrastructure and mining.
The ECOCASD also recommended synergies between climate mitigation strategies and development policies in areas such as energy efficiency, fuel substitution, renewables, afforestation and land and waste management.
The meet also emphasised the need for developing policies and economic strategies that place ecosystems and the services they provide at the centre of future economic development and climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts would result in multiple positive benefits to all people globally.