A few days ago, I posted a graph of world fish production from The Economist website. Along with it, I quoted a comment from a reader suggesting that among others, Norwegians were to blame for irresponsible fishing activities. The reader may think of Norwegian trawlers, or trawlers owned by Norwegians for that matter, that fishes in foreign or international waters. While it may be (or most likely is) true that Norwegians fish irresponsibly elsewhere, Norway are at least at the top when it comes to the management of marine resources in domestic waters. The World Wildlife Fund, together with the University of British Columbia Fisheries Center, Canada, has recently issued a report that has evaluated the top 53 fishing nations in the world’s compliance with the United Nations’ Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. There is room for considerable improvement, however, also in Norway.
Overall compliance with the Code is dismal: not one country out of the 53 achieves a “good” score of 70% or more. Only six countries (11%) have overall compliance scores whose confidence limits overlap 60% (Norway, USA, Canada, Australia, Iceland, Namibia). This means that, twelve years after the Code of Conduct was agreed, there is a great deal of room for improvement in compliance even among those countries at the top end of the rankings. At the lower end, the alarming finding is that 28 countries (53%) had ‘fail grades’ of less than 40% (Peru, Poland, India, Ghana, Taiwan, Latvia, Philippines, Brazil, Argentina, Morocco, Pakistan, Russia, Senegal, Ecuador, Indonesia, Iran, Thailand, Ukraine, Sri Lanka, Viet Nam, Turkey, Bangladesh, Egypt, Yemen, Nigeria, Angola, Myanmar, North Korea).