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Pikitch: Global Fisheries' Troubled Waters

Interviewee: Ellen K. Pikitch
Interviewer: Toni Johnson
July 18, 2007

Sushi lovers recently learned they might get deer or other meat in their maki rolls because international fishing quotas have been lowered to protect blue-fin tuna stocks. But environmental groups say the quotas still might not prevent the the collapse of certain fish populations. The world’s appetite for seafood is growing at a time when damaging fishing practices, environmental changes, and pollution threaten fish species of all kinds.

Ellen K. Pikitch, executive director for the Pew Institute for Ocean Science, says management of international fisheries has a long way to go. The Law of the Sea, which is essentially a constitution for the oceans, generally limits jurisdiction of fisheries only out to 200 miles off the coasts of individual nations. But Pikitch notes there are huge swaths of ocean governed by no law at all. In addition, she says that international agreements governing specific fish, such as tuna, can be “quite weak.”

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