Overfishing down 84 percent

Russian trawlers (BarentsObserver)

Overfishing in the Barents Sea has been reduced with 84 percent in the period from 2005 to 2008, Norwegian Minister of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs Helga Pedersen says.

Based on detailed analysis carried out by the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries, overfishing of cod amounted to about 100,000 tonnes every single year from 2002 to 2005, the Minister said. Figures from 2008 meanwhile show that only 15000 tons of illegal catch was made in the region, a government press release reads.

For her ministry’s successful fight against illegal fishing, Ms Pedersen this week got the World Wildlife Fund’s Leaders for a Living Planet award.

Still, challenges remain in the Barents Sea fishing industry. According to a WWF report, powerful crime networks still operate in the industry. The organisation claims that western European companies play key role in those networks.

According to Norwegian broadcaster NRK, several Norwegian individuals take part in the organisation of the illegal fishing. Minister Pedersen says to the newsmaker that Norwegian police now will step up its fight against the criminals