Throughout my experience in fisheries trade, one of the themes that has seemed most poignant to me in our study of international issues has been the tension between limited, and getting more so, natural resources, and resource use being increasingly based on market incentives defined by the dominant economic system.
The environmentally sustainable use of fish resources is central to fisheries management, given the long-term importance of this sector in terms of nutrition and employment. But today's major concern relates to the unsustainable levels of exploiting fishes with such practices that lead to the depletion of fish stocks, disruption of ecological equilibrium and reduction in diversity.
Although the current situation of fisheries production, consumption, and trade provides many frustrations, it may also serve as an illustration of how people, in this context, cannot indefinitely exploit resources and current behaviors need to be questioned. What it also shows is how, often, the struggle to use resources is rarely governed by economic definitions of comparative advantage and efficiency but, rather, dimensions such as national citizenship, political position, or economic strata. This paper does not attempt to suggest how the fisheries depletion issue as a whole should be solved, but rather to highlight some of the main threats in pursuing one response to this problem in the context of the broader realities of the global fisheries situation.