EDFish

How knowledge-sharing will improve multispecies fisheries

In many fisheries, many species are caught at the same time. These are called multispecies fisheries, and the fact that they catch many species together, with the same gears, means that the different species are caught at the same rate. The trouble is, some species are productive enough to withstand high catches while others are not. So as a result, the low-productivity species get fished out, reducing overall yield, markets for diverse species and economic and ecological resilience — resulting in serial depletion. While many single-species fisheries are becoming more sustainable thanks to science-based management strategies, multispecies fisheries often face greater sustainability challenges, and these challenges will grow in the face of climate change. Read More »

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What the people of Chile’s Robinson Crusoe Island can teach us about marine stewardship and resilience

After an hour of flying in a small plane across the Pacific Ocean with no land in sight, we began to wonder how much farther it would be before we would see land again. About two hours into the flight, the peaks of one of the three volcanic islands rose above the local cloud cover, indicating that we were arriving at the Juan Fernández Islands off the coast of Chile. As we got closer, we saw the first and largest of the islands: Robinson Crusoe Island. Read More »

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New research sheds light on how to assess coral reef ecosystem health

 

Coral reefs play many important roles for marine ecosystems and communities, including for biodiversity, fishing, recreation and tourism. They are a source of livelihoods to communities all over the world. Their beauty and ecological importance inspire citizen scientists globally to get involved in reef health monitoring and projects that help ocean ecosystems.

However, coral reefs worldwide face an uncertain future, with many reefs reportedly transitioning from being dominated by corals, to being dominated by macroalgae. This transition threatens all of those who depend on healthy coral ecosystems around the world. This new research, which I contributed to, reveals that we may have more opportunities to save corals than previously thought. Read More »

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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 »

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What is needed to sustain healthy ocean ecosystems and local livelihoods in Myanmar?

Workers help grow and maintain soft crabs that are purchased by surrounding mangrove islands within the Myeik archipelago.

Workers help grow and maintain soft crabs that are purchased by surrounding mangrove islands within the Myeik archipelago.

Myanmar is a nation with a diverse array of ecosystems, each contributing significantly to local livelihoods, food security and culture. There is tremendous potential for Myanmar’s fisheries, if sustainably managed, to support the ecological, economic and social welfare of its people. The transition to sustainability will require an overarching plan that includes the use of new data collection and fisheries management tools to overcome the challenges these fisheries face and help them reach their full potential.

New science and collaborations among EDF, WCS and Cornell build on efforts of the Thriving Marine Fisheries in Myanmar initiative, offering solutions to support Myanmar’s efforts to steward sustainable and productive fisheries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Crowdsourcing better data on small-scale fisheries

Photo credit: Jason Houston

Photo credit: Jason Houston

Many of the world’s fish are caught in small-scale fisheries that lack data about the health of fish populations, giving managers very limited information to base management decisions on. In turn, most of these fisheries appear to be under-performing with respect to conservation, the amount of food they can produce, the amount of money they can generate, and the quality of the livelihoods they can support. There is a perception that these fisheries cannot be assessed without large amounts of data. Because of this perception, many fisheries remain unassessed, ineffectively managed or not managed at all leading to under performance or even collapse.

Fortunately, there are alternatives: fishermen and women, community members, managers and scientists are collaborating to bridge the data gap for these important fishing communities; increasing knowledge and resources for effective fishery assessment and management. While these collaborations have started to fill in the gaps, we still need input from fishery managers and practitioners for a complete picture of the data.

In collaboration with small-scale fisheries around the world, we are beginning to collect information on the pathway and tools employed in actions of science-based fishery co-management in small-scale, data-limited contexts. Read More »

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