Get on Board to save the World's Oceans with Our eFISHient System!

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The Problem 

Water takes up more than 70% of the earth’s surface and more than 60% of the human population live within 20km of the coast. Oceans provide natural resources like food and energy and are an important part of international transport and trade. 

In 2014 the fishing industry gave work to 6.6M people of which 90% worked in small companies. The overall catch contained 81.5M tons. A rising number of fish stocks is overfished but despite the proven positive impact of marine reservation zones only 0.28% of the oceans are protected. 

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s research in 2009 57% of the worlds fish stocks are exploited and 30% overfished. The UN used such information to form their Sustainable Development Goal 14 called „Life below Water“. In a group of five students from the Lernwerft Club of Rome School in Kiel we participated in the Young Economic Summit and decided to find a solution to this problem. 

The Solution Idea 

Our idea is to introduce a rotating system of protection zones for an improvement of the fish stocks and a low economic damage.  

In our example the North Sea will be divided into large regions which will then be divided into smaller sections of similar number and size. In every region one or multiple sections are protected (marked red on the exemplaric map above) simultaneously in an alternating pattern. In our case „protected“ means that any fishing is prohibited while passing through the area is allowed.  

The size of the sections and the time until the pattern alternates can be adjusted for the special needs of every region and its species. The borders between sections are to be set at islands and harbors with significant fishing industry so the fisherman always have an unprotected zone nearby. 

The cycle of protection itself is random with the restriction that protected zones should not share a border. 

Excluded from the entire system is a 12 sea mile wide coastline in which small scale fishery will be allowed and industrial fishery prohibited. 

Three institutions will be used to implement and monitor the system. First up is the OSPAR to implement it. The OSPAR is an agreement of the countries around the North Sea to protect it. To monitor the impact on the fish stocks we intend to use the ICES (International Council for the Exploration of the Sea which already collects data about fish stocks and their development. For the enforcement of protected sections we thought about the Satellite Vessel Monitoring System which is used worldwide today to locate ships of any kind to prevent collisions and monitor borders. The participation in the S-VMS is mandatory for every vessel with 12m of length or more. Whether a vessel in a protected zone is fishing or not can be determined by its moving pattern which even indicates what equipment is used and therefore what sort of fish is caught. 

The Advantages 

To ensure a sustainable development all three aspects of sustainability are to be taken into account - ecology, economy and social. 

Our system: 

• protects endangered species from extinction and others from becoming endangered 

• protects small scale fishery and provides a long term improvement of the fishing grounds for industrial fishers 

• limits the economic damage and distributes it evenly to all participants 

                              Get on board to save the world’s oceans!

 

Further Information: The Competition 

The YES! or Young Economic Summit is a Competition organized by the Leibniz Centre for Information in Economy and the Joachim Herz Foundation. It gives students the chance to develop and present solutions for global problems. 

Experts are present to discuss the solution with the teams. The winners then present their idea a second time in the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. They are also given the chance to participate at the Global Economic Symposium. 

The YES! can be won in two categories: the solution itself and the PR-work of the team. We were declared winners at the YES!2016 in both categories!



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