Promoting Responsible Fishing

Credit: K.E. HeersWWF-Norway focuses on raising public knowledge about the threats to wild salmon. Precious few Atlantic salmon have returned to spawn in the rivers of the North Atlantic over the recent years, and the total landings of wild salmon in the oceans and rivers have reached a historic low. A large number of genetically distinct populations have already been destroyed. The problems are linked to local pollution in rivers, as well as global pollution and climate change. Natural habitats and spawning areas have been destroyed, while overfishing has diminished the prey species for salmon in the open ocean. In Norway and Scotland the enormous growth of salmon farming has introduced serious problems of disease and parasites to wild salmon.

Through stakeholder workshops and pilot studies, WWF-United Kingdom is actively promoting the idea of no-take zones in fisheries which will act as a fundamental support to existing management measures in the North-East Atlantic. These will help facilitate recovery plans by safeguarding critical areas for commercial species and the ecosystems upon which they depend. WWF-UK runs specific projects in order to estimate the impact of fishing gear on marine wildlife and to suggest alternative solutions. Levels of harbour porpoise bycatch in bottom set gill nets in the central and southern North Sea and in the Celtic Sea may be as much as two and/or six times that suggested to be sustainable. Drift nets are responsible for significant casualties of marine wildlife, including Risso's and bottlenose dolphins, and pilot, sperm, minke and fin whales.