Commercial fishing has set itself up as one of the high risk but big money businesses. Predictably, the future of it has always come under the spotlight, pitting sustainability against profit. However, as you enjoy your cod liver or salmon, you may be unaware of some of the big moves that have been made in the large-scale commercial fishing waters.
1. PRICE BOOM IN FISH PRICES
With big appetites, comes big money. A visible price boom has been witnessed no doubt fuelled by either the decline of fish stock in the seas or increasing demand for a healthier option. Since 2005, crab prices have gone up almost 43%, while in China, suppliers are taking in orders of about 2000 tons a week.
2. EUROPEAN MARITIME AND FISHERIES FUND
Large-scale fishing is fast becoming a safer business, especially after the setting up of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund. The Fund, set to run until 2020 is up for grabs for qualified fishery business who according the rules of the fund, would like to, but not limited to, improve health and safety on their fishing boats and boost the value of the fish caught and include ways to reduce bycatch.
The switch from a derby style fishing to an individual quota fishing system came as a relief to many fishermen working the cold seas like the Bering Sea. Derby fishing prompted fishermen to fill their quota in days, putting fishermen at a risk of drowning. The execution of the individual quota fishing system allowed boats to fill out quotas in 3 months, allowing lighter loads and not exposing the crew to horrible conditions.
4. BYCATCH REDUCTION DEVICES (BRDS)
Commercial fishing is all about scale and magnitude, with tons being the target catch. In most instances, the trawling method used will net unintended targets. These unintended targets are thrown back into the sea for more valuable fish, already dead or dying. Bycatch reduction devices (BRDs) were introduced to help fish not intended as the catch to escape from nets. Turtle excluder devices (TEDs) were also adopted to help deflect turtles escape trawl nets.
5. FISH FINDING TECHNOLOGY
Companies like Simrad and Piscatus 3D have created a niche for themselves in creating fishfinding systems that allow commercial fishermen find schools of particular fish, and map out seabed topology. Such advancements enable commercial fishing boats to do targeted fishing, minimizing time spent on seas.
With progress being made on a regular basis to make commercial fishing less destructive and the eco-system more stable, it would be interesting to see what more the fishing industry has in store for the market.