World Fisheries Day was established by the World Fisheries Forum (WWF) as an opportunity for reflection on our ever-increasing knowledge of the state of the oceans, fish stocks, fishers and coastal communities. Every November 21st, fisherfolk communities worldwide celebrate with rallies, workshops, public meetings, cultural programs, exhibitions, music shows and demonstrations to highlight the importance of maintaining the world’s fisheries.
Protein from fish, crustaceans and molluscs accounts for around 15% of the animal protein intake of the human population. At the same time, two-thirds of the world’s fisheries are overfished or fully harvested. Global warming, pollution and the loss of essential fish habitats have led to a decline of more than one third of global fish stocks. Consequently, small-scale fishers need to go ever further out into the oceans and compete with larger vessels competing for the same waters.
Slow Food urges everyone to reflect on how the world should manage global fisheries to ensure the sustainability of fish stocks and the livelihoods of the approximately 250 million people worldwide who work directly or indirectly in small-scale fishing.
What would small ports and coastal villages look like without artisanal fishers? We should be thankful that we still have the traditional knowledge of artisanal fishermen as part of our living heritage. Have you ever talked with a fisher about the seasons of the sea? The next time you can, go to your nearest port and buy fresh fish directly from the dock, and talk to the fishers about their work: we have so much to learn from the people that provide our food, and all you have to do is ask!
Photo taken from World Fisheries Day Facebook page