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UN Fish Stocks Review Opens With Dire Outlook
Friday, 7 February 2014

UNITED NATIONS. Environmentalists and scientists warned of collapsing gfish stocks and tiny Pacific nation Palau sounded the alarm for sharks as diplomats Monday launched a weeklong review of high seas fisheries.The international conference will “take a hard look” at how to put some teeth in a 1995 United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement, according to conference chairman David Balton, a U.S. deputy assistant secretary for oceans and fisheries.

Palau’s call for an international moratorium on shark finning came at the outset of a review held once every four years to address the declining numbers of fish stocks under the U.N. agreement, which took effect in 2001. Palau·’s U.N. Ambassador Stuart Beck said the killing of 73 million sharks a year, just because people like the way their fins taste in soup, shows just how badly wrong things have gotten with ocean mismanagement. “The slaughter of sharks for their fins to make soup is as needless and cruel as the killing of elephants for their tusks to make ornaments,” he said. “‘The island nations are sounding the alarm: only concerted outrage can save the world’s sharks from being slaughtered for the delectation of soup lovers.” Palau President Johnson Toribiong last year announced his nation was creating the world’s first shark sanctuary to protect great hammerheads, leopard sharks, oceanic whitetip sharks and more than 130 other species fighting extinction in the Pacific Ocean. Sharks are vulnerable to over fishing because of their low fertility rates and long life spans. But shark able state of fisheries on the high seas.” Both were published in journals online, one in Science, the other in Marine Policy, to coincide with this week’s U.N. conference. She also cited U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that three-quarters of the world’s fish stocks on the high seas are overfished.

“The key is not to focus on the numbers so much as the fact that if we extrapolate these data the estimates are that global fisheries will crash, completely crash, by 2050, in little more than one generation,” said Lieberman. A

“We’re talking about the very future of food security on our planet, and the very future of our oceans]? she said. “And, in particular, this has tremendous impacts for coastal communities and developing countries.”

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