To the Editor:
Your timely Jan. 21 editorial, “Until All the Fish Are Gone,” correctly underscores the growing negative environmental and social effects of overfishing. What once seemed simply a conservation concern is now a global issue with tremendous social and economic ramifications.
We are fast approaching a critical crossroads in the future of our oceans. But unlike many other global issues, where business and the environmental community are often at odds, here we completely agree on a solution.
Members of the World Trade Organization are now negotiating new trade rules to reduce the government subsidies that promote overfishing. These subsidies provide fleets with money, fuel and incentives to fish longer, harder and farther than ever before. As a result, fish populations are declining, along with the quality of life of people around the world who depend on fishing for food and livelihood.
Reducing fishing subsidies is the single greatest action that can be taken to protect the world’s oceans.
Will the W.T.O. members seize the opportunity to stop overfishing and begin restoring the health of the oceans, and in turn, the health of mankind? That is the question.
Peter M. Robinson
Andrew F. Sharpless
New York, Jan. 22, 2008
Mr. Robinson is president and chief executive of the United States Council for International Business. Mr. Sharpless is chief executive of Oceana, an international environmental ocean advocacy group.