Here’s why new fishing legislation lacks broad support

Update: The bills outlined in this blog were passed by the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources on December 13, 2017. You can read EDF’s full statement here.

In an intensely polarized age, fishery issues have been among the few to stay above the partisan fray on Capitol Hill.  Historically, amendments to the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA) have proceeded on a virtually consensus basis, with the 2007 reauthorization passing the Senate without a single “no” vote and other relatively minor changes to the law, such as the recent decision to shift management of Dungeness crab to the State of Washington, proceeding with bipartisan support.  In taking this approach, lawmakers are following the lead of user groups, which often overcome legitimate differences on how to approach key issues at the local and regional level. In the past these solutions have followed an overall strategy of science-based management that has sharply reduced overfishing in the United States, fueled the recovery of dozens of depleted species, and enabled higher fishing quotas from the Gulf of Mexico to the Gulf of Alaska. Read More »

Posted in Domestic, Gulf of Mexico, Policy, Seafood| Tagged , | Leave a comment

What can we learn from around the world to build #BetterBritishFisheries?

Photo: Blue Marine Foundation

[this blog was updated on 12/5/2017]

The UK is at a pivotal moment. With a future as an independent coastal state ahead, now is a time to reflect on aspirations for fishing 5, 10, 20 years down the road. The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Michael Gove, has stated that the UK will be withdrawing from the Common Fisheries Policy of the European Union. So, with the task of defining a new path for UK fisheries a great question to ask is: what can we learn from sustainable, ambitious and world-leading practices elsewhere? Read More »

Posted in Europe, International, Policy| Tagged , , | Read 2 Responses

Five reasons we’re hopeful on World Fisheries Day

The fortunes of people everywhere are inextricably linked to the oceans.  Overfishing remains one of the world’s most pressing environmental challenges, but around the world we are seeing incredible progress toward sustainable fishing.

On World Fisheries Day, we wanted to share fives stories from the past year that inspire us:

 

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Japan-Philippines fishery exchange highlights the benefits of collaboration

Bringing fishers and fishery managers from different places together through fishery exchanges is a powerful way to learn and build trust as you explore new approaches to manage fishing. After attending  and leading dozens of fishery exchanges over the years, I have been amazed by the peer-to-peer discussions that take place, regardless of language barriers or cultural differences, and the candor of government officials and fishers describing the challenges they have faced or successes they have worked to achieve. It is incredible to see participants hear about something new or innovative that they could bring back to their communities.  The excitement is contagious.

While there are always major differences between fisheries that make some aspects of learning challenging or even inapplicable, we want people to recognize and appreciate the uniqueness of ones fishery. There is not a “one size fits all” approach to managing fisheries because each fishery has its own set of characteristics based on the history of the fishery, culture of the area, species composition, governance structure, resources, and most importantly fishers and their accustomed fishing practices.  These exchanges are an opportunity to share experiences with others and to learn from each other about new and different approaches that can be adopted to improve fisheries management.

Recently, EDF and our partner Rare-Philippines organized a Japan-Philippines exchange for a delegation from the Philippines to visit several fisheries in Mie Prefecture, Japan.  We were particularly inspired to see firsthand what happens when fishers are empowered by the local government to make day to day management decisions: they pursue solutions that improve their livelihoods, and the long term sustainability of the fish they depend on. Those attending included champion mayors and their local government staff from eight municipalities that all have legally approved TURF+Reserves and are in the process of implementing these new systems on the water.  Read More »

Posted in Global Fisheries, International| Tagged , , , , , | Read 1 Response

Research sheds light on how to better manage small-scale fisheries

Small scale fisheries are critically important for the provision of food security, livelihoods, and economic development for billions of people. Most of these fisheries appear to be under-performing with respect to conservation, food production, revenue, and the quality of the livelihoods they can support.

Many factors related to successful small-scale fisheries management have been articulated in previous research and through practical e xperience, including strong leadership, co-management, secure catch or marine tenure privileges, and scientific assessment of fishery status.   Both the pathways and tools employed in fishery reform vary, but there is a growing consensus that the integration of effective fisheries governance and science-based management is crucial for success.

Together with fishermen and women, community members, managers and scientists we have identified some major lessons that arise from case studies in Belize, Cuba, Mexico and the Philippines. In newly published research, my colleagues and I evaluate the stories, challenges and lessons learned from these fisheries, where these groups are developing science-based solutions for sustainable fishing. We found that successful science-based management includes fisher participation and empowerment, partnership across sectors and community buy-in, and sound scientific analysis. Read More »

Posted in Belize, Cuba, International, Mexico, Science/Research| Tagged , , , | Comments are closed

Science-based management in U.S. fisheries: Progress and the road ahead

In August, I had the honor of being the co-organizer of a symposium at the American Fisheries Society Annual Meeting titled “Ten Years of Science-Based management in U.S. Fisheries: Progress and the Road Ahead” with my colleague Jake Kritzer.  A distinguished group of eight speakers joined us to present papers on topics ranging from the evolution of the Magnuson-Stevens Act to the benefits that science-based management has yielded for Alaskan fisheries, and discuss how the Act has performed and how to tackle the challenges that remain with fisheries scientists and managers from across the country and globe.

Speakers included scientists, managers, and a commercial fisherman and covered a geographic range from Florida to Alaska.  Some of the speakers approached the subject with experience that extended back to well into the previous versions of the Act.

The consensus could be best summed up by one a point made by Dr. Mike Sissenwine, a council member of New England Fishery Management Council, early in his presentation: Science-based management has worked.

Overall, the group concluded that the current incarnation of the Magnuson-Stevens Act has greatly improved conservation outcomes.  Since the reauthorization, overfishing has decreased dramatically and a significant number of stocks have been rebuilt.

Our commercial fishing participant, Jason de la Cruz from Florida, noted that the current Act made him feel more confident about the basis of decisions and had led to increased opportunities to collaborate on science.  In Alaska, Diana Evans, deputy director for the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, highlighted that fishermen and managers now look beyond the difficult task of setting annual catch limits to new management challenges like ecosystem-based fishery management that can be informed by innovative scientific tools being created for their Fishery Ecosystem Plan. Read More »

Posted in Domestic, Gulf of Mexico, Policy, Seafood| Tagged , | Comments are closed
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