Our Fish Jan 2022 Newsletter: Sign up now
2021 was a massive year for the Our Fish team – by 24th December we were knackered. Were you? Looking back, 2021’s Covid-induced lockdowns, endless zoom meetings and virus-dodging blurs with those of 2020. But 2021 was also different – things did start to happen.
The European and international conversation about the ocean’s critical role in climate action increased in volume and in depth. The truth about how much CO2 pollution is produced by the fishing industry and is being subsidised, was revealed. Politicians made more bad decisions about overfishing, but they also started to acknowledge that fishing impacts whole ecosystems and food webs. The public call for action to halt the horror show of bottom trawling rose dramatically, along with support for a just transition to low-carbon, low-impact fishing that puts fisheries into the bigger picture of restoring and maintaining healthy ocean ecosystems for the benefit of everyone. For more on last year, check out the links below.
But what does 2022 hold for us and for the ocean around us? In April or so, the European Commission is expected to release its “ocean action plan”, which was named in the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 as the game-changer we need to halt the crisis in the seas around Europe. We expect this Action Plan to propose a pathway and identify actions to retool, redirect and rebalance the EU fishing fleet so that it fishes within nature’s limits instead of hammering the ecosystem and climate.
The Commission will also release their Common Fisheries Policy evaluation, which will identify areas to improve and gaps to fill in EU fisheries management; we have great hopes that it will name options to transition to a more ecologically, socially and economically sustainable path in light of the nature and climate crisis.
The review of the Energy Taxation Directive will be discussed between the EU Council and Commission – a critical opportunity to ensure that the most destructive parts of the fishing industry, and other industries, stop having their fuel subsidised by taxpayers dollars only to make the climate and ocean crisis worse. You can follow our campaign here.
The UN Ocean Conference and UNFCCC deliberations will also be big opportunities to have sustainable fisheries identified as climate action, so that we can ensure national climate action plans stop ignoring the ocean and the huge contribution it can make to climate mitigation and adaptation.
And among it all, we will keep working with artists, fishers, scientists, politicians and citizens to deliver social change. Because this is not a problem fixed by one person overnight. We’re all part of it.
In November, we worked with the famed Spanish street artist collective Boa Mistura to create a massive nine-floor high mural titled Heartbeat of the Ocean, in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius. The Boa Mistura team toiled in subzero temperatures to create this dramatic artwork to send a direct message to European Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius, who hails from Vilnius, calling on him to “Save the Ocean to Save the Climate”.
On February 2nd, Boa Mistura wrote to the Commissioner – warning that posting selfies of himself with the mural is not enough – and that we’re counting on him to end destructive and over-fishing – we need to urgently restore the health of the ocean in order to improve the chances for the future of humanity.
- Watch the stunning video of how the Heartbeat of the Ocean was created.
- Read Boa Mistura’s open letter to Virginijus Sinkevičius
- Add your name to the ‘Heartbeat of the Ocean’ artwork which will be delivered to Commissioners and Timmermans.
What else have Our Fish been up to? We went swimming. If there’s an ocean around, we’re gonna jump in to raise a clamour for #OceanClimateAction. Check out our swim during the IUCN World Congress in Marseille, and our icy dip during COP26 in Glasgow.
Also at COP26, along with Open Seas, we co-hosted a face-to-face breakfast event – watch the video here; Save the Ocean to Save the Climate – Blue Carbon Breakfast Briefing. Check out this op-ed written by scientists Emma Cavan, Erica M. Ferrer and Rashid Sumaila ahead of COP26: Fish and the Ocean Play A Crucial Role In Regulating Our Climate and Should Not Be Consigned to COP26 Sidelines.
In Luxembourg in October, string quartet Arel Ensemble performed with mezzo-soprano opera singer Luisa Mauro in the early morning outside the EU Fisheries negotiations over Baltic Sea fishing limits – exhorting them to “Listen to the Ocean”. Check out this stunning video of their haunting performance.
In December, along with Oceana, Seas at Risk and We Move, delivered a giant pop-up book to Commissioner Sinkevičius calling for a ban on destructive bottom trawling.
In November, we released this report – and held a video briefing with the Low Impact Fishers of Europe: How the EU can Transition to Low Environmental Impact, Low Carbon, Socially Just Fishing. And in September, with ClientEarth, we launched EU Fuel Tax Subsidies Worth €1.5 billion are Driving Climate Impacts & Overfishing. You can visit the Stop Fossil Fuels Subsidies website here.
Finally, our Webinar: Mobilising Ocean Climate Action. For this online event, Our Fish brought together a fascinating panel in this online discussion to answer your questions on the science of our ocean, why its health is key to our climate, and how we can drive political action to stop overfishing.
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