The world got a little smarter about fishing this week, thanks to developments on both sides of the Atlantic. First, Michael Bloomberg’s philanthropic foundation issued a $53 million grant to combat overfishing off the coasts of Asia and South America. The FT reports:
Bloomberg Philanthropies’ $53m will support the work of three US groups that will promote reforms to boost fish populations over the next five years in Brazil, Chile and the Philippines, three countries that account for about 7 per cent of the world’s wild fish catch. […]It is one of the largest one-off philanthropic grants ever made for such work and one of the more unusual, say marine advocacy groups, because it aims to show how investors can make money from tackling the problem.
These millions could go a long way if they convince developing countries to curtail the short-term economic gains brought by rampant fishing for the long-term prosperity sustainable fish stocks can provide. But Bloomberg’s largesse isn’t the only good news on the overfishing front. Brussels is finally moving forward with new policies to prevent rampant overfishing in its member states’ waters after reaching a funding deal late yesterday. Reuters reports:
EU diplomats backed a 6.5 billion euro ($8.9 billion) deal to help fishermen adapt to new rules, ending years of debate over reforms of the European Union’s fishing policy aimed at ending decades of over-fishing…The funding agreement covers the years 2014 to 2020 and is meant to fund equipment, such as new nets that allow smaller fish to escape, that could help replenish stocks.
This is heartening progress on a very serious issue. Overfishing can have near-permanent deleterious effects on aquatic ecosystems, so the sooner we address it, the better off we’ll be. While many greens waste time and energy on futile unicorn hunts, urgent problems are neglected—overfishing being one of the most serious. This is a battle greens should fight, and it’s one they can win. More of this, please.