World Fisheries Congress opens in Edinburgh


THE world’s fisheries community will gather in Edinburgh today to discuss the future of sustainable fishing at the 6th World Fisheries Congress.

Organised by The World Council of Fisheries Societies, the congress is being held at Edinburgh International Conference Centre and will address “Sustainable Fisheries in a Changing World”. The event draws leading international figures influential in driving debate and shaping global policy on fishing.

The Duke of Rothesay will address the conference on sustainability in His Royal Highness’s capacity as the founder of The Prince’s International Sustainability Unit (ISU).

Established in January 2010, the ISU works to build consensus on how to resolve some of the key environmental challenges facing the world, specifically those concerning food security, ecosystem resilience and the depletion of natural capital.

The ISU works with governments, the private sector and non-governmental organisations with the aim of building partnerships to help address these challenges.

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Environment Richard Lochhead said: “I am delighted to welcome the World Fisheries Congress to Edinburgh this week. As one of the foremost fishing nations, Scotland is at the centre of international efforts to sustain the world’s fisheries. Bringing together leading scientists and experts will provide stimulating and thought provoking discussions, and I look forward to building on our work and exchanging ideas with international partners.

“Fishing is a crucial part of our history, and a vital part of our future. It makes a massive contribution to our economy – last year Scottish landings rose to £500 million, the highest level in a decade. The Scottish Government is committed to doing all we can to preserve the marine environment and to ensure a sustainable, long-term future for the fishing industry in Scotland.”

Professor Felicity Huntingford, World Council of Fisheries Society President and Professor of Functional Ecology at University of Glasgow, said: “The 6th World Fisheries Congress is a truly global event that brings together scientists from all discipline areas that cross the freshwater and marine boundaries.

“This year’s Congress will investigate the significant role that science plays as the foundation stone to good management and sustainable fisheries, including the increasing importance of aquaculture in the provision of food and nutrition. The overarching aim of the conference is exchange information and promotes discussion of complex and controversial issues, so that knowledge can be shared with a wider audience, and common solutions identified.”

Around 30% of world fish stocks are estimated to be overexploited, depleted or recovering and need to be urgently rebuilt. Modern developments in fisheries management as well as in aquaculture fish are together helping to address this issue, contributing to food security, nutritional well-being, poverty reduction and economic development. Aquaculture continues to be the fastest-growing animal food producing sector and now outpaces population growth.