Marine fisheries provide livelihoods, food security and recreation for hundreds of millions of people around the world. In order to be sustainable, however, the ecosystems that underpin fish stocks must be biodiverse, healthy and resilient.
The Convention on Biological Diversity acknowledges the clear link between fisheries and biodiversity. The Parties enshrined the need for a strong focus on this link through the adoption of Aichi Biodiversity Target 6 on sustainable fisheries, as part of the 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets. Aichi Biodiversity Target 6 addresses various elements of sustainable fishing, including fishing of target stocks, as well as minimizing and eliminating impacts on other species and ecosystems. There are, however, numerous challenges and capacity gaps in assessing progress towards these different elements.
The newly published CBD Technical Series No. 87 Assessing Progress towards Aichi Biodiversity Target 6 on Sustainable Marine Fisheries report, drafted by Serge Garcia and Jake Rice of the Fisheries Expert Group of the IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management, provides an expert analysis of the needs and challenges associated with the reporting and assessment of the different elements of Target 6. This analysis also provides a valuable source of knowledge and lessons in setting future goals and targets, with associated monitoring and reporting frameworks, related to fisheries and biodiversity.
Target 6 is not likely to be met by the end of 2020. Still, it has led to achievements such as:
- Increased awareness of the link between fisheries and biodiversity.
- Increased dialogue and collaboration between the fisheries and biodiversity communities.
- Valuable insights in the development of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.
In addition, progress has been made on the development and implementation of measures aimed at achieving the mutually reinforcing goals of sustainable fisheries and biodiversity conservation.
“The substantial progress made towards Target 6 underscores the crucial lesson that efforts to mainstream biodiversity into fisheries management, and fisheries into biodiversity conservation, are fully compatible―giving a solid foundation for working together towards our shared goals,” said the report’s co-author Jake Rice.
Although Target 6 will not be achieved, it’s critical to learn lessons from progress made thus far, as the global community sets future goals and targets for biodiversity.
ADDITIONAL INTERESTING INFORMATION
Aichi Biodiversity Target 6: By 2020, all fish and invertebrate stocks and aquatic plants are managed and harvested sustainably, legally and applying ecosystem based approaches, so that overfishing is avoided, recovery plans and measures are in place for all depleted species, fisheries have no significant adverse impacts on threatened species and vulnerable ecosystems and the impacts of fisheries on stocks, species and ecosystems are within safe ecological limits.