Originally published on November 18, 2013 on the Oceans Health Index Website
Written by Steven Katona, Managing Director, Ocean Health Index
Maximizing sustainable food production from the ocean by harvest of wild fish stocks and production of farmed species by mariculture is one of the 10 goals evaluated by the Ocean Health Index, and it is especially closely watched because it is so critical for the future.
Three billion people out of today’s world population of 7.1 billion people depend on seafood for their daily protein and fish contribute a greater proportion of protein to the average diet than poultry. A single serving of fish or shellfish (150 g) provides 60% of a person’s daily protein requirement, but the ocean’s continued ability to meet that need is in doubt. Our population is rising steadily and will reach about 8 billion by 2024 and 9 billion by 2040, but the annual catch from wild ocean fisheries has stayed at about 80 million metric tons since about 1990 despite increased effort. The reason is that too many stocks are overfished and too much productivity is sacrificed as bycatch, illegal and unregulated catch and as a result of habitat loss caused by destructive fishing practices.
Yet without increased wild harvest and augmented mariculture production, the risk of malnutrition will increase for hundreds of millions of people, because the catch will have to be shared by so many more mouths. Read More
Fishermen and fishery managers often have few resources to help them navigate the tricky or challenging management decisions they regularly face. That’s why the Catch Share Design Center has developed a comprehensive toolkit for designing and implementing management systems that can build resilient, profitable fisheries.
Back in 2010, we released the Catch Share Design Manual. It was the most comprehensive overview of catch shares, to date, and included a step-by-step process that stakeholders could use to evaluate their fishery and design a custom program suited to fit their specific needs. Most importantly, it drew on the knowledge and experience of fisheries experts around the globe.
Since the Catch Share Design Manual’s initial release, we’ve heard from fishermen, managers and other fisheries stakeholders all over the world. Some of the feedback offered expertise and recommendations, while others sought advice and requested specific new research. All of it was useful and this new toolkit is a response to those requests.
We all know that lack of effective management can be devastating to fish populations, the billions of people around the world who rely on seafood for protein and the millions who rely on the stability of the fishing industry to support their livelihoods. By sharing this toolkit, we are providing fisheries stakeholders with the tools needed to recover fish populations and ensure that fisheries are sustainable and prosperous in the long-term. Read More
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The Seabrooke. Photo credit: Discovery Channel
Marine Resource Economics announced Joshua K. Abbott Brian Garber-Yonts, and James E. Wilen as recipients of the 2010 Dr. S.-Y. Hong Award for Outstanding Article. The peer-reviewed article, Employment and Remuneration Effects of IFQs in the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands Crab Fisheries found that the majority of working crews in the Bering Sea red king crab and snow crab fisheries benefited in the first three years of catch share implementation.
Abbott, an Assistant Professor of Environmental and Resource Economics in Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability, wrote an EDFish blog post on the study in 2010. According to the study, crab fishing in the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands became more productive following catch share implementation. Crab fishing also became more lucrative for crews – seasons lengthened, employment in crew hours and daily crew pay remained stable, and seasonal crew pay increased substantially. Read More
Can a Change in Management Solve the World’s Most Pressing Marine Conservation Challenge and Foster Vibrant Coastal Communities? A new study published in the journal Marine Policy finds that reforming how fisheries are managed can successfully restore and maintain healthy fish populations and benefit both fishermen and fishing-dependent communities. The study evaluated 15 fisheries in the U.S. and British Columbia before and after adopting "catch shares” — a type of fishery management increasingly common worldwide.
Catch shares, the study found, delivers “clear gains in environmental performance (and) major economic improvements” as well as dramatic improvements in safety for fishermen. The improvements were found across a range of fisheries in the Pacific, Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico and extended to fishermen from both small and large vessels, using a diversity of gears and targeting a variety of fish. In contrast, the study found that these same fisheries performed poorly under traditional fishery management in virtually all areas.
Overall, the study is a dose of good news at a time when most news we hear about oceans is bad. The results also come at a time when some in Congress are pushing to eliminate fishermen’s ability to pursue catch shares for their fisheries. The findings point to a clear choice about which strategy the nation should pursue to achieve abundant oceans that also allow fishermen and fishing-dependent communities to prosper. Read More