The Vatican has renewed its call for fair and sustainable practices with the global fishing industry to mark the observance of World Fisheries Day.
In an event co-organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization, the Holy See underscored the critical inseparable link between social and environmental sustainability in the fisheries sector.
Sr. Alessandra Smerilli, secretary of the Dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Development, cited Pope Francis’s recent Apostolic Exhortation “Laudate Deum,” pointing out the dangers of intensive industrial fishing, which poses threats to marine biodiversity and the livelihoods of smaller fishers.
“Destructive fishing in the marine ecosystem takes advantage of the work of the fishers, who know better how important the care of the sea is for the future of their livelihood,” she said.
Sr. Smerilli emphasized the necessity to counter the “arrogance of the strong” and urged a concerted effort to listen to the voices of fishers, whose wisdom emerges from the margins.
She called for collective action to reimagine the world’s future, reaffirming the Church’s commitment to upholding human dignity and environmental stewardship.
Monsignor Fernando Chica Arellano, the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to FAO, echoed Sr. Smerilli’s sentiments in his concluding remarks.
He affirmed the Holy See’s enduring support for fishery workers, particularly those less fortunate, advocating for their fundamental right to decent and dignified work in a healthy and sustainable environment.
Msgr. Arellano commended the FAO for implementing regulations that promote new fishing models, ensuring quality catches, environmental respect, and fair sector development.
He reiterated Pope Francis’s call for an “ecological conversion,” emphasizing the need for a corporate strategy of social responsibility that prioritizes solidarity over profit.
The Holy See stressed that an ethical approach respecting individuals would enhance the well-being of port workers.
Msgr. Arellano envisioned ports as spaces of integration, fraternity, and loyal collaboration, where true solidarity becomes a path to overcome selfishness and indifference.
Highlighting the Church’s ongoing work for seafarers, Msgr. Arellano acknowledged the efforts of Stella Maris, the Catholic Church, and the Holy See in providing human and spiritual care to those working or transiting in ports, advocating for their well-being, and supporting initiatives to ensure that no one is left behind.
Cardinal Michael Czerny, Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, conveyed a message during the FAO session.
He called for an “integral ecology,” emphasizing the need to safeguard the environment, jobs, and fishing communities facing new challenges threatening their survival.
Cardinal Czerny expressed gratitude to fishermen for their valuable work, acknowledging them as sentinels of delicate balances and pioneers of integral ecology.
He recognized the often unacknowledged and exhausting nature of their work, emphasizing the importance of societal recognition for their contributions.