Archbishop Agostino Marchetto stated this today in a meeting of the International Fishing Committee of the Apostleship of the Sea.
He pointed out that there are over 30 million fishers worldwide who work in a "challenging marine condition."
"The rate of accidents and fatalities in this sector are quite high in fact, in many countries fishing is the most hazardous occupation," the prelate added.
"In recent years," he observed, "the technological development of fishing vessels and the globalization of the industry has created a deep impact on the general situation and the livelihood of many fishers and fishing communities."
Citing the Food and Agriculture Organization, the archbishop reported that "of the world's fifteen main fishing regions, four are depleted and nine are declining."
"Nature's limits have been stretched," he said, "and it cannot be allowed to continue this way if the oceans and the human communities around the world that depend on them are to survive."
Archbishop Marchetto called on government authorities to enforce laws and regulations to protect the oceans from illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
He also called for the education of fishers and their communities to help them participate in these efforts.
The Apostleship of the Seas "should be involved in improving the traditional ways with which the fishing sector is organized, mostly made up by elusive and fragmented fishing owners and organizations, by helping to form a new leadership especially among the younger people," the prelate affirmed.
He added that it should also "assist towards a deeper respect for the dignity of fishers."
The meeting's speakers included Bishop Domenico Mogavero of Mazara del Vallo, Italy, who spoke about his experience of a special pastoral visit to the fishers on the seas.
As well, Cassandra De Young, a fishery policy analyst from the Food and Agriculture Organization's Fisheries and Aquaculture Economics and Policy Division, talked about the impact of climate changes on the fishing industry.
A maritime specialist from the International Labour Organization, Dani Appave, addressed the meeting participants about the latest update on the 2007 Work in Fishing Convention.
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