|The stock of sea fishes|
Baels, H. (1981). The stock of sea fishes, in: Thomasson, E.M. (Ed.) Study of the sea: The development of marine research under the auspices of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. pp. 132-138
In: Thomasson, E.M. (Ed.) (1981). Study of the sea: The development of marine research under the auspices of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. Fishing News Books: Surrey. ISBN 0-85238-112-3. 256 pp., more
Fish stocks; Marine fish; Migrations; Marine
The International Convention of 1937, which was held in London, was the result of persistent efforts by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea over a long period of time to achieve the conservation of certain important stocks of fishes. For some thirty-five years the Council conceived and organized investigations which revealed the threat of species depopulation and the possible impoverishment of various fishing areas. Finally, in the mid-1930s the Council was able to convince concerned that this problem was serious enough to justify an international convention. Representatives from fourteen nations2 came to this Convention and they succeeded in agreeing on a measure to standardize the size of meshes for - - trawl-nets and fix a minimum size limit for the most valuable species. However, the outbreak of the Second World War prevented its ratification. As a result, it was not until the London Conference of 1946, sometimes called the 'Overfishing Conference', that nations would come together again and this time make a more permanent agreement. Nevertheless, the 1937 Convention was the most comprehensive to date with respect to the species of fish included, the area covered, and the number of nations involved. Although the decisions of the Convention were never completely accepted, it did clear the way for more international co-operation after the War in a field where co- operation was badly needed. Much of the credit for this achievement goes to Henry G Maurice of Great Britain, who was President of the Council from 1920 to 1938. It was mostly due to his leadership that the Council recommended the adoption by all member countries of mesh regulations and size limits for fish no less severe than those previously introduced by the British in their Sea Fisheries Industry Act of 1933. In the excerpt below, Henry Baels, a Belgian delegate to the Council for many years, reviews the status of Northern European fisheries at the time of the 1937 Convention, and the causes and possible remedies to counter their decline.