Today, Geneva city centre is buzzing as Oceana's Finley the Fish emerged from the depths to increase awareness for a true special interest - stopping the massive subsidies provided by many countries to their fishing industries that are causing the oceans to be fished to death. Finley the Fish has come to Geneva to rally support for the negotiations currently underway as part of the Doha round at the World Trade Organization. Unfortunately, governments underwrite their nations' foraging fishing fleets to the tune of an estimated $30 to $34 billion a year, pushing fleets to fish longer, harder and farther away than would otherwise be possible. "Finley the Fish is here to shake fins and make friends," said Courtney Sakai, campaign director at Oceana. "Overfishing is one of the world's greatest environmental challenges and we must act now to stop destructive fisheries subsidies, before all of the fish are gone."
The vast majority of global fisheries subsidies increase fishing capacity, which in turn drives overfishing. Government subsidies have helped to produce a worldwide fishing fleet that is up to 250 percent greater than that needed to fish sustainably. The European Union, Japan and China are among the world's largest subsidizers of their fishing sectors. This massive subsidization comes a time when the world's fisheries are in crisis. An international team of leading fishery scientists project that all commercial fish populations will be in permanent collapse within decades (by 2048), if current overfishing trends continue.
In addition to his policy work and media interviews, Finley is appearing in an Oceana advertising campaign throughout Geneva. The advertisements show money raining down on numerous fishing boats with Finley in the ocean, imperiled by baited hooks. "The Doha round negotiations represent the single best opportunity to address the fisheries subsidies issue on a global scale," said Sakai. "The question is if the WTO will seize this opportunity to leave a lasting legacy for the protection of the world's oceans." For more information, please visit www.cutthebait.org/.
 B. Worm et al., Impacts of Biodiversity Loss on Ocean Ecosystem Services. Science, November 3, 2006, Vol 314.