Seafood Sustainability, Stability & Security

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By Milthon Lujan

This joint report from the WWF European Policy Office and WWF-France shows how the sustainability of fisheries management impacts the stability and security of the EU Member States and their trade partners.


Covid-19 has called attention to key shortcomings in the global fisheries industry, making it critical for the EU to consider how, within the contexts of the European Green Deal, the Farm to Fork Strategy and the Biodiversity Strategy, it will tackle the lack of transparency in supply chains of seafood products entering the EU.

While the EU, the world’s largest seafood market, has established legislation to address issues around unsustainable seafood including the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and the IUU Regulation, these have not fully barred entry of IUU fishing products to the European market.

Further, when not sustainably managed, the European fleet’s activities in third countries under the framework of Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreements (SFPAs) contribute to overfishing, leading to a decline in resources available to local populations; the ensuing collapse of local industry and food security can become a determining factor in driving fishers to IUU fishing activities and the emigration of young people from fishing communities.

A lack of traceability increases the risk of seafood from IUU fishing finding its way into supply chains which enter the EU market. Further, in certain Member States and EU overseas territories, IUU fishing contributes to criminal activities, such as drugs and human trafficking.


The Coronavirus pandemic has had a strong impact on the fishing sector. In addition to cutting many fishers off from their sole income source, it has raised concerns about the potential exposure of on-board observers, crew members, inspectors and port workers to the virus. Simultaneously, many markets are reporting increased sales of non-perishable food such as canned seafood, which augments pressure on certain fish species.

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There is an urgent need to protect marine life while ensuring that livelihoods and sea-dependent economies are not threatened by a lack of follow-up measures or control and monitoring of fishing activities once the crisis is over.

Reference (open access):
WWF. 2020. SEAFOOD SUSTAINABILITY, STABILITY & SECURITY JUNE 2020: How the sustainability of fisheries management impacts the stability and security of countries, and what we must do about it. 

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