Regulating Oceanic Activity
Over the past six decades, annual fish consumption has increased by 3.1% on average –double the world population growth rate. This is putting pressure on current fishing methods. At the same time, the seafood industry has faced growing scrutiny of its fishing practices.
In response, major seafood-producing countries have introduced regulations and legislation to guarantee sustainability in the ocean economy and in particular seafood. These include:
Amid mounting concern about illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) fishing, in December 2020 Japan reformed its fishery laws for the first time in 70 years, introducing a new law that bans IUU seafood from entering the market, while also updating its registration requirements for vessels and fish.
Responsible for 15% of the world's wild fish catch, China has implemented the Distant-Water Fishing Management Regulations to combat illegal fishing by Chinese vessels in other coastal nations’ waters. There are also new rules on vessel registration, stricter certification requirements, higher penalties for non-compliance, and a new 'blacklist system’.
To tackle the use of chemicals in seafood production, which it says leads to an estimated 33,000 human deaths in the EU each year, the European Commission has committed to reducing the sale of antimicrobials for farmed animals in aquaculture by 50% by 2030.
In December 2020, fourteen countries which together oversee 30% of the ocean’s exclusive economic zones formed the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy. Countries including Japan, Chile, Indonesia and Norway committed to managing their waters 100% sustainably by 2025 and pledged to restore wild fish stocks and harvest at sustainable levels by 2030.