Sharing your skills and knowledge

Do you have skills or knowledge that you would like to share with our team? Aquascope firmly believes that a collaborative approach is needed to tackle IUU fisheries effectively. If you have marine conservation experience, technical know-how and ideas, maritime experience or any other (professional) skill that can help our cause, we would like to hear from you!

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The seas are full of life. Help to keep it that way! Photo: Avoini CC 3.0

The seas are full of life. Help to keep it that way!

Ideas, suggestions and enquiries

If you have any ideas, suggestions or enquiries regarding IUU fishing or Aquascope, please contact us. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Dolphins are smart and sociable animals. Unfortunately many of them die as bycatch in nets or on longlines. Photo: Tim Watters

Dolphins are smart and sociable animals. Unfortunately many of them die as bycatch in nets or on longlines.

5 things you can do to stop IUU fishing

Like many people you probably feel horrified that IUU fisheries are causing such a rapid decline of life in our oceans. But the problem is so big, what can anyone do about it? Here are five simple things that all of us can do to directly curb IUU fishing and help keep our marine ecosystems strong and healthy.

Don not eat fish and seafood1. Don’t eat fish and seafood. Unless you are one of the few people absolutely dependent on fish as a food source, don’t eat it. Wild fish have a place in the natural ecosystem that greatly outweighs their value as food for human consumption. Without our excessive demand for fish, IUU fisheries could no longer flourish. If we want to keep our oceans alive and safe marine wildlife from extinction, please look to ocean-friendly alternatives.

Why me? Insufficient controls of the supply chain means consumers are frequently duped into buying IUU ‘black fish’ that have been mixed indistinguishable with legally caught fish. Studies estimate that for example 50% of the fish sold in Europe is caught illegally. This is why we say black fish are in the supermarkets, not on black markets. If you buy fish chances are that you directly contribute to IUU fisheries.

What about fish that have been labeled sustainable? A study at the University of Trier in Germany took a closer look at sustainability labels, comparing 71 MSC and 76 FOS-certified fish (including species of mackerel, swordfish and tuna) with a variety of independent assessments performed by fisheries scientists and national and international fisheries management bodies. The result: A whopping 31% of the MSC-certified species were found to be from unsustainable fisheries while 19% of FOS-certified species were considered undeserving of the label.

What about farmed fish? Fish farming is often praised as the answer to diminishing wild fish populations but, more often than not, this practice does more harm than good. Fish farms are notorious for releasing harmful pollutants including concentrated fecal matter, chemicals and antibiotics into surrounding marine ecosystems. Confining fish to small areas also increases the spread of parasites, while escaped fish can devastate endemic marine wildlife. Farmed fish must often also be fed wild-caught fish. For every pound of farmed salmon or sea bass produced up to five pounds of wild and possibly illegally caught fish are consumed. 20-30% of the fish caught globally each year are turned into pellets and fed to factory-farmed animals including fish, cattle, poultry and pigs.

By eating fish, seafood and products derived from animals that have been fed on fish, we are playing a part in the destruction of our oceans. Forgo the fish and take pride in making a difference as a responsible consumer.

Buy ocean-friendly only.2. Buy ocean-friendly only. Boycott cosmetics that contain shark squalene, cartilage, krill or any other product derived from marine wildlife. Also steer well clear of products made of coral, sea turtle shell or similar marine products. These items can be directly attributed to unsustainable fishing methods that jeopardize entire ecosystems.

Influence and enrich your community - create political change!3. Influence and enrich your community – create political change! Contact your local and state representative(s), sign petitions, demonstrate and voice your concern on this issue. Don’t forget, even if laws and regulations to protect our dwindling fish populations are in place, they mean little if they are not properly enforced.

Support marine conservation organisations.4. Support marine conservation organisations either with your knowledge and skills as a volunteer or with a donation. You can make a difference!

Educate yourself and others.5. Educate yourself and others. Raise awareness about IUU fishing and the catastrophic damage it is causing. Knowledge is power and the motor to change.