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Since ancient times, fisheries have been an important source of food, employment, and economic and social benefits. That there are limits to the extraction of fishery resources has long been recognized by science, but policies and management have failed to consider them adequately, leading to regrettable environmental and socio-economic consequences. It is now globally clear that fisheries resources cannot sustain the rapid - and often uncontrolled - exploitation and development rates, and that new management and conservation approaches are needed. In the process of change, ethical concerns related to the well-being of humans and the ecosystem are central to the debate about the future we want for fisheries and fishers. This fourth study in the FAO Ethics Series addresses the ethical issues broadly raised by FAO in food and agriculture, narrowing its focus to fisheries. The discussion outlines the main ethical issues in fisheries and the moral imperatives to which they give rise and considers the role and scope of ethics in the management of the sector. Particular reference is made to the institutional foundations of fisheries policies as reflected in the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. Concrete examples and case studies support or illustrate the themes presented. An introduction to a holistic ethical approach to fisheries, Ethical issues in fisheries pays special attention to the effects of fisheries management and social policy upon people's living conditions.

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