EDFish

Can looking to the future help preserve a historical fishery against climate change?

Editor’s note: This is the third in a multi-part blog series, Fisheries for the Future, examining the impacts from climate change on global fisheries and the opportunities to address these emerging challenges. Throughout the series, we’ll be investigating how climate change will impact the world’s supply and distribution of fish and what we can do to ensure the most sustainable future for ourselves and our planet. Learn more about this work: Resilient Seas

In New England, as in many other parts of the world that rely on fishing for food and income, there is a growing need to predict and adapt to climate change as it worsens. One of the most important aspects of dealing with climate change is to look ahead and put in place goals, objectives, scientific research and management practices that are responsive to future conditions. As we anticipate a climate-altered future, we will continue to value healthy ecosystems and the benefits derived from fisheries. However, healthy ecosystems and sustainable fisheries of the future may be very different from what we are used to. The ability of the oceans to support thriving ecosystems and fishing communities will depend heavily on actions we take today. Read More »

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China confronts the effects of climate change on fisheries

No nation on Earth is more central to the global seafood system than China. China’s influence on the production, processing, distribution and overall demand for seafood is unparalleled. Indeed, China alone is expected to account for around half of the growth in global seafood consumption over the coming decades.

This growing demand for seafood will require new solutions not only for managing how much fish is caught, but how to adapt as climate change begins to impact China’s ocean ecosystem.  EDF recently convened an international workshop with the China Academy of Fisheries Sciences (CAFS) with the goal of aligning global efforts to identify pressing challenges and solutions to climate change.

As China confronts these impacts, it’s clear that global climate change is a critical stressor that threatens to undermine its hard work on fisheries reforms. China’s government and scientific community recognize this threat, and are beginning to address it. The challenge is not trivial, given that China’s coastline spans 18,000 km, stretching across diverse ecosystems from warm tropical to cool temperate seas.

EDF is working in China not only because of its global importance, but also because we believe the country is in a unique moment for transformative change. China has made ambitious commitments under the 13th Five-Year Plan to improve fisheries management. These include improving the scientific foundation for fisheries management, monitoring fishing activity and catch, enhancing the responsibilities and incentives of fishing fleets and communities and strengthening protection of marine ecosystems. Read More »

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Can marine conservation be more effective by cooperating across boundaries?

This week, world leaders are convening in Bali, Indonesia for the Our Ocean Conference. This event is dedicated to conserving and protecting ocean ecosystems so that the world’s swelling population can continue to rely on oceans for food and livelihoods for generations to come. The timing and location of this week’s conference are particularly acute following recent confirmation by the IPCC that nations must act quickly and in cooperation to limit climate change. This is especially important in Asia, where most of the world’s fish are produced and consumed, and fishing is rapidly accelerating to meet growing demands.

Meeting marine conservation challenges that are shared across many nations in Asia can be done more efficiently, effectively, and quickly if we work together across national boundaries. Read More »

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Healthy oceans take center stage in China

I have been fortunate to work on fisheries science and policy across the globe, from my home in New England to the opposite end of the earth in Australia, from the rugged and rocky coast of Chile to the warm tranquil waters of Cuba, and beyond. Each place has a unique story of how lives, communities, and history are shaped by the sea. Recently, I’ve had the privilege of joining exciting efforts rising to reform fishery management in the People’s Republic of China.

China plays an outsized – and growing – role in world affairs.  This is certainly the case when it comes to the blue economy, in which China is the dominant actor in the global seafood supply chain, among the top five maritime shipping nations, and poised to see growth in ocean energy development, mining, and tourism.

With such significant economic activity tied to the oceans, China exerts considerable influence on the health of the marine environment. With that influence comes a responsibility to enhance environmental stewardship, one that is taking on an increasing focus in the evolution of China’s national policy. Read More »

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Cuba and New England share marine conservation experiences

Ptown group shot2 - crop (2) President Obama recently announced momentous changes in the United States policy toward Cuba.  The implications of this sea-change are wide-ranging, including the potential for enhanced scientific collaborations, and more effective and cooperative environmental management.  EDF has a long and diverse history of productive partnerships in Cuba, which have shown us quite clearly this potential.

A recent example involved a delegation of seven Cuban fishery managers, scientists and industry leaders joining four EDF staff and two partners from the Mexican organization COBI at the Center for Coastal Studies (CCS) in Provincetown, Massachusetts, at the very end of Cape Cod.  There, the group had wide-ranging discussions of experiences, challenges and successes in improving management of marine resources.  The workshop had a particular focus on better use and integration of spatially-explicit science and management tools.  These include protected areas, area-based allocation systems (e.g., territorial user rights for fishing, or TURFs), and multi-use planning zones.  We also paid close attention to the governance structures needed to ensure effective, responsive and participatory management. Read More »

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Eating with the Ecosystem: Gulf of Maine

Earlier this year, I wrote about an event held in my neighborhood by Eating with the Ecosystem, a new initiative that aims to educate seafood lovers about the environmental and culinary benefits of a diverse palate that incorporates a wide range of sustainable seafood choices.  After that dinner, I sat down with Sarah Schumann, the creator of Eating with the Ecosystem, to learn more about how her project emerged.

Sarah’s work is driven by a diverse and fascinating array of interests and experiences.  Her love of commercial fishing was born more than a decade ago when she lived on the coast of Chile and got to know the small-scale coastal fisheries of that seafaring nation.  Chile has enjoyed success in implementing cooperative and area-based allocation systems, which today are serving as a model for work being done by EDF, Rare and the University of California at Santa Barbara through the Fish Forever partnership. Read More »

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