CLIMATE change is impacting on the global distribution of fish stocks, Iceland’s fisheries minister has told an international conference on the state of the world’s seas and oceans.
Þorgerður Katrín Gunnarsdóttir (pictured) was addressing the Our Oceans summit in Malta where the guest speakers included Prince Charles.
She said only responsible, robust and flexible fisheries management was able to cope with this challenge – and Iceland has a good track record in sustainably managing its main fish stocks.
‘But fisheries management is deemed to fail unless we have healthy, clean oceans,’ she said.
‘Therefore, ocean pollution, plastic particles and acidification of the oceans – due to uptake of carbon dioxide – are deeply troubling.
‘We need all nations to acknowledge and address the causes of climate change and ocean pollution and have the political courage to take responsible decisions and actions based on the best available science.’
Gunnarsdóttir said false information and skewed viewpoints were not helpful when facing difficult and complex problems, but nor were overly pessimistic or optimistic presentation of facts or sometimes plain disregard of scientific findings.
‘We have had more than enough of those flying around on both climate change and the state of fish stocks worldwide.
‘To solve complex pressing problems we need sound science, innovative solutions. We need to support our scientific community and connect academia, private sector and innovators.
‘We need to engage youth and women in the Blue Economy. And not least we need to acknowledge that the worldwide community needs to work together and take responsibility for solving the problem.’
She said Iceland was committed to meeting its commitments under the Paris Agreement by reducing emissions from transport and fisheries by using low carbon fuels and electricity and other means.
‘Iceland has also committed to launch a ground breaking 13-year effort to map the remaining 88 per cent of its Economic Exclusive Zone.
‘All data that is made available from the project will be available for use free of charge for non-profit use.
‘And finally, Iceland has committed to adopt additional fisheries management plans with long term precautionary harvest control rules for commercially harvested fish stocks and to reducing marine litter in its waters.’