Subsidies For Commercial Fisheries Are Hurting Not Only The Oceans, But Ourselves Too

Source: Pew Charitable Trusts/Tom Dillon

Photo: Edi Libedinsky/Unsplash

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Ask people what’s most important to them and there’s a good chance they’ll say, “Staying healthy—and keeping my family healthy.” But they might not realize that the health, economic well-being, and safety of their families and communities very much depend on the health of our oceans, which cover 70% of the earth and face threats ranging from warming waters and diminishing fish stocks to plastics pollution and dying reefs. Protecting this ecosystem is critical to human health: The ocean filters our air, controls the weather, and provides food for billions of people. Yet, collectively, global leaders have not done nearly enough to ensure the long-term sustainability of the marine environment.

World Health Day, on April 7, is an opportune time to make the health of the oceans a top priority for governments around the world. One achievable first step would be ending the subsidies that enable overfishing and illegal fishing. Today, one-third of all fished stocks are exploited at unsustainable levels and another 60 percent are fished to capacity, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.

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Photo: Edi Libedinsky/Unsplash

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