EDFish

Will fisheries management best practices need to adapt as climate change impacts the ocean?

Editor’s note: This is the second 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.

Doctors say a healthy patient is better able to recover from an injury than an unhealthy one. In a similar vein, a healthy marine ecosystem is better able to withstand the effects of climate change compared to an unhealthy one. Managing fisheries right is one of the most important factors for addressing marine ecosystem health. In this blog we will talk about fishery management best practices and their importance in the face of climate change, how those practices may look different as a result of climate-related factors and some recent experiences with fisheries in Lithuania.

Over the last few decades we have learned what it takes to manage fisheries well and have worked with fishing communities around the world to develop robust management plans that are yielding positive results for fish populations and fishing communities. Read More »

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What will it take to secure healthy fisheries in the face of climate change?

Editor’s note: This is the first 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.

Fisheries are a globally-important source of jobs and income and critically important for the food security and nutrition of some of the most impoverished people on the planet. This is increasingly the case as human populations continue to grow. Managing fisheries well is also an important aspect of ecosystem health, as well-managed fisheries help contribute to vibrant and abundant ecosystems. Climate change is already affecting fish populations and will scramble these systems in ways not fully understood. This poses a risk to fisheries, the people who depend on them for their livelihoods and the continued ecological abundance and diversity that we hold dear. Read More »

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The Future of the Pacific Groundfish Trawl Fishery Without the Catch Share Program

Merrick Burden - Senior Fisheries Economist

Merrick Burden - Senior Fisheries Economist

Fishermen in the Pacific groundfish trawl fishery are understandably anxious about the transition to catch shares that starts January 2011, but it’s helpful to consider what is likely to happen if the fishery is left under current management. Perhaps the biggest problem facing fishermen and fishery managers is that eight out of over 90 species caught by fishermen are overfished.  To protect these overfished species, fishery managers have closed parts of the ocean to fishing by creating “Rockfish Conservation Areas” that have changed shape in response to locations of overfished species.  In recent years, productive fishing grounds off Washington and southern Oregon have been among the areas closed.  If current management were to continue there would likely be more closures off other areas of the coast.

I’ve had the experience of working as a fishery manager in the Pacific commercial groundfish fishery for over 6 years and have seen how the existing management system is slowly suffocating the industry and fishing communities. Avoiding closures is just one reason why I see the groundfish trawl IFQ (catch share) program as progress in Pacific groundfish fishery management.

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