EDFish

A multinational plan for climate resilient fisheries in the Humboldt Current

By Erica Cunningham and Merrick Burden

Climate impacts will be acutely felt by the millions of people living in fishing communities around the globe, and those in the Humboldt Current region of South America face immediate and difficult challenges. The Humboldt Current is one of the world’s largest and most productive marine ecosystems and spans most of the Pacific coast of South America, from Ecuador all the way to the tip of Chile. It also accounts for between 6% and 20% of the world’s total marine fish catch, depending on the year. Fish products from the Humboldt Current enter global supply chains and help to feed humans and animals as well as contribute to pharmaceutical products. Given the huge impact Humboldt Current fisheries have on the region and the world, it is a priority to ensure they become resilient to the effects of climate change. That’s why Environmental Defense Fund is working with national science and management agencies in the region on a multinational plan to help ensure a brighter future. Read More »

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Cuba and the U.S. can only solve shared conservation challenges by working together

By: Katherine Angier and Dan Whittle

Over the past few years, U.S. policy toward Cuba has been a series of unilateral actions that have had severe impacts on the Cuban economy and undermined its emergent private sector, without any apparent benefits to the U.S.

Diverse groups are pushing back against these restrictions, from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to public interest groups, from churches to a growing bipartisan coalition in Congress. They recognize that engagement is still our best chance of resolving decades-long disputes and tackling shared challenges.

The administration’s approach has substantially decreased economic and cultural exchange and created a chilling effect in other areas. Nonetheless, not all doors to travel, dialogue or cooperation have closed, and it’s essential we work to keep them open. In particular, the ongoing collaboration between Cuban and U.S. scientists has been fruitful, with tangible benefits to the people of both countries. Read More »

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The promise and peril of manufactured seafood

Credit: Marco Verch via Flickr Creative Commons

Today, there are only two ways to produce seafood: fishermen can catch wild fish, or fish can be farmed in a process called aquaculture. Both methods have many benefits, but also can have adverse impacts on the environment. A growing number of companies are trying to develop alternative ways to produce “seafood,” like “tuna” made by growing tuna cells in a lab.

Will these alternatives make it commercially? If they do, will that result in big environmental benefits or contribute to food security? Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) recently looked into these questions. Read More »

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How can chefs lead the way towards social justice in our food system?

It was never going to be enough for Chef Nick Wallace to only cook food, even as deeply as the passion to cook has driven his life and career. The Chopped chef is on a mission that includes shaping the way children, especially children of color, relate to and think about food.

Creativity Kitchen, Chef Wallace’s brainchild, was launched to integrate real, nutritious, local food into urban school cafeterias in the South and the appreciation for its importance into the minds and hearts of the children eating it. “We work with kids who may eat their only meal of the day at school.  By prompting them to think about where that food comes from, what it does for their body and how its production impacts the land, we try to instill a sense of agency that they will take into adulthood—a sense that they can choose what to put in their bodies with an understanding of the impacts of that choice,” Chef Wallace explains. Read More »

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Will calamari play an important role in future climate-resilient fisheries?

Global reported squid catches (Millions of metric tons, 1950-2015). While squid catches have increased in recent years, year to year changes have also increased. Data accessed from FAO database. Plot by R. Boenish

Besides being the star in calamari appetizers, squid play the crucial roles of both predator and prey in marine ecosystems. Globally, squid can be found in nearly every ocean habitat from seagrass beds, to coral reefs, to the open ocean. Squid fisheries provide livelihoods and high-quality protein to communities, large and small all over the world. And as it turns out, studying squid can teach us valuable lessons about how to build climate-resilient fisheries. A new paper in Fisheries Research will help fishery managers predict where jumbo squid (Dosidicus gigas) populations might migrate under different scenarios of climate change, and help researchers understand why some species are more resilient than others.

While overall squid catches (all species combined) have increased in recent years, it is unclear what the future will hold in the face of climate change and other pressures. Healthy ecosystems depend on resilience from all links of the food chain. This research, which I contributed to along with a number of leading marine research organizations including Shanghai Ocean University, The University of Washington and The University of Maine, suggests that squid may play a more important role in improving climate resilience in the world’s fisheries than previously thought. Read More »

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Science is at the core of the sustainable management and conservation of Mexico’s marine resources

What if scientists, governments and citizens had access to a database that held everything we know about our oceans? This snapshot of the current state of science would be invaluable to understand the state of ocean health, would help build scientific solutions to climate-driven ocean problems and could spur new collaboration and amplify current conservation efforts.

Luckily for all of us passionate about the oceans in Mexico, this amazing database is not just a fantasy. It is now a reality in Mexico thanks to the collaborative efforts of Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and Mexican researchers from several institutes including the University of British Columbia and the Mexican National Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity (CONABIO). Read More »

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