Sustainable fishing

Industrial fisheries of Orange roughy. Emptying a mesh full of Orange roughy into a trawler.
It is estimated that three-quarters of the world’s fisheries are fully exploited or overfished.

Each year inefficient, destructive and/or illegal fishing practices kill millions of fish and marine animals as unwanted bycatch.

Poor fisheries management, exacerbated by climate change, is the largest threat to ocean life and habitats ... and to the livelihoods and diets of more than a billion people.

WWF internationally
WWF has long campaigned for the sustainable management of the world's fisheries. Worldwide, WWF combines field, policy and market work in a strategic approach that focuses on:
  • Working with fishers to develop practical solutions to reduce bycatch.
  • Working with major buyers and traders so they buy only from fisheries that have adopted improved standards and approaches, such as the Marine Stewardship Council, and no longer buy from poorly managed and/or overfished fisheries. 
  • Working with governments to limit fishing and restore ocean productivity by establishing policies for ecosystem-based management of fisheries.
  • Looking for ways to increase awareness among fishing sector investors and insurers, and working with them to develop and adopt business practices that reward sustainable fishing.

WWF in New Zealand
Our approach to sustainable fisheries is:
  • Promoting better regulation of fisheries to manage impacts on ecosystems
  • Working with fishing companies that want to become more sustainable
  • Advocating solutions to address by-catch of threatened species including Māui dolphins, New Zealand sea lions and a range of seabirds.
  • Advocating the creation of a network of marine protected areas as part of better oceans management
  • Working with major seafood buyers to promote sustainable seafood purchasing
  • Working with our colleagues in the region to promote better management of fisheries in the wider Pacific.