RCEP & RSE: Environmental effects of marine fisheries

01 June 2003

Many of the worlds fish stocks are significantly overexploited. Unsustainable fishing has had a detrimental impact on the marine environment. Evidence has shown that fishers first target and deplete the supply of the largest and most valuable species and then move on to the remaining smaller and less desirable species. Over the last 500 years, marine ecosystems have undergone major losses in biomass of larger bodied species and of those high up in the food chain. Ecosystem damage is rarely considered in fishery management strategies.

The Royal Society has responded to two consultations with information concerning the environmental effects of marine fisheries.

In May 2003 we submitted a response to the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution consultation on the Environmental Effects of Marine Fisheries, and in June 2003 we responded to the Royal Society of Edinburgh Inquiry in to the Scottish Fishing Industry.

The responses recommend that new political and management approaches should be undertaken to ensure that decisions taken by the fishing industry are further based on sound science and that fisheries are managed with conservation goals that are more enforceable.


Royal Society Responses: