Increasing fish imports leads to a need for more responsible fishing
According to Karoline Schacht, a fisheries expert at the WWF, Germans have actually already consumed their figurative share of fish for this year. Thus, in the second half, the fish that would be consumed needs to be taken from abroad. She elaborates that if there was no overfishing, the fish stocks in Europe would be abundant, and Germany would be able to supply fish for three months longer from its own fisheries.
With the threat of overfished seas, the industry faces enormous challenges and must urgently look into how they can conduct their business ecologically and fairly. According to Schacht, "whoever wants to have full nets tomorrow would need to undergo the necessary reforms".
The WWF is encouraging the industry to adopt the EU regulations on maximum sustainable catches, to use more selective gear and to prohibit the discarding of unwanted catches. In addition, it wants the German fishing industry to be sustainable as well. "The fisheries must be sustainable, not just in North and Baltic Sea, but also overseas, where the majority of our fish come from," said Schacht in German.
Our Responsibility: Sustainable FisheryOver the years, the German fishery industry has lost some of its influence. Today, only 12 percent of fish consumed in Germany comes from local fishing or fish farms. Instead, fish imports are becoming more of a mainstay, with the majority of consumed fish coming from more than 100 countries. Of particular importance is the import of salmon, shrimp and tuna. Often, these fishes had been caught or farmed off the coasts of developing and emerging economies. In fact, almost 60 percent of imports originate from non-European countries. For consumers in Germany, where fish comprises 13.7 kg of the annual per capita consumption, the WWF feels that this issue has become more of a responsibility.
Consumers can consult this guide about shopping for fish for more information.
"Although we can choose from a variety of exotic fish specialties, many people in developing countries depend on what is available in their territorial seas," said Schacht. Europe, the world champion importer, consumes a quarter of the world's traded fish; and compensates for bottlenecks in self-sufficiency in fish imports. "We have a responsibility for the design of sustainable fisheries, which people must in turn strive to maintain in the long term," said Schacht in German. She concludes that conscious consumption and a fishery that operates sustainably in overseas markets would be decisive indicators.