THE Prince of Wales is to launch a major international campaign to halt the destruction of the oceans through overfishing.

A report to be published this week by one of the Prince’s charities, the International Sustainability Unit (ISU), will say that fisheries around the world could be pulled back from the brink of collapse by tackling wasteful fishing practices. In a speech at the report’s launch, the Prince will warn of “dire” long-term consequences unless action is taken to manage fish stocks more effectively. –TG

He will use the opportunity to encourage governments, retailers and the fishing industry to adopt more sustainable practices, pointing to evidence that it could allow more fish to be taken from the seas rather than fewer.

The move comes on the back of the Prince’s campaign save the rainforests, which has been credited with having played a significant role in getting the international community to sign up to initiatives to tackle deforestation.

Campaigners fighting to stop overfishing and end destructive policies such as discards, where fishermen throw dead fish back into the sea to avoid exceeding quotas, have backed the Prince’s move.

While the Prince will not mention the European Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) in his speech, environmentalists who blame the policy for encouraging discards have welcomed his decision to speak out on the wider issues.

A Clarence House spokesman said: “The Prince of Wales has been concerned about the marine environment for many years.

“He wants to focus on the fishing industry and how to promote a more sustainable approach to managing the marine environment.

“The work of the Prince’s Charities’ ISU’s Marine Programme is about promoting sustainable approaches towards fisheries to preserve a long-term livelihood for the communities and industries that rely on them, to preserve the fish stocks, and to protect biodiversity and ecosystems in the sea.”

Twenty five per cent of the world’s fish stocks are now believed to be overexploited, depleted or recovering from depletion. Half of the world’s fish stocks are already suffering catches at or close to the limit that allows them to be sustainable.

The report by the ISU will be launched at an event hosted by the Prince at Fishmongers’ Hall in London on Friday, attended by 250 industry representatives and officials.

It will argue that the solution lies in readdressing the economics of fishing so governments and the industry recognise the benefits of preserving stocks. TG