World Fisheries Day Date in the current year: November 21, 2020
World Fisheries DayWorld Fisheries Day is celebrated annually on November 21 by all people whose livelihood depends on fisheries. Its main objectives are to highlight the contribution of commercial fishing to the global economy and to raise awareness of the importance of sustainable fisheries.
Fishing is a prehistoric practice dating back at least 40,000 years. It is a major source of food in many regions; according to estimates of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), fisheries and aquaculture provide direct and indirect employment to other half a billion people in developing countries. As of 2018, top ten countries with the biggest fisheries harvest (capture and aquaculture combined) were China, Indonesia, India, Vietnam, the United States, Russia, Japan, the Philippines, Peru, and Bangladesh.
World Fisheries Day was established primarily to draw public attention to the most pressing challenges that the world fishing industry has to face, as well as to bring together stakeholders to find ways to solve them.
The main problem facing fisheries around the world is resource depletion caused by overfishing, water pollution, and climate change. According to the FAO estimates, about one-third of world fish stocks are subject to overfishing. Some governments have introduced fishing quotas and other restrictive measures to combat overfishing, but there are two inherent problems with quotas. First, they need to be adjusted each year, second, they can be undermined by illegal fishing activity.
In addition, fisheries are very important to the economies of many developing countries. According to statistics, 65% of the reported catch from inland fisheries is from low-income food-deficit countries, and, as we’ve already mentioned above, the livelihood of approximately 500 million people in developing countries depends on fisheries and aquaculture.
Given the importance of fisheries, especially when it comes to developing countries, quotas shouldn’t be the only way to combat fish stocks depletion. Other measures that can and should be taken include the promotion of sustainable fisheries, the development of aquaculture, and environmental campaigns aiming to prevent water pollution. The implementation of such measures is one of the key tasks of fisheries management.
A sustainable fishery is one that is harvested at a sustainable rate, so that the fish population doesn’t decline over time. To achieve sustainability in fisheries, fisheries management combines population dynamics and other theoretical disciplines with practical strategies. Its ultimate goal is to produce sustainable biological, economic, and social benefits from renewable aquatic resources.
Although World Fisheries Day isn’t on the list of UN international days, it is endorsed by relevant UN organizations, such as the FAO. It is marked with various events (conferences, seminars, discussions, exhibitions, workshops, public meetings, rallies) to highlight the importance of the world’s fisheries and sustainable fishing.