EDFish

What do Cuban and Belizean fishers have in common? More than meets the eye.

Cuba and Belize are connected by more than ocean currents. They share critical ecosystems like mangroves and coral reefs, and both countries have made major strides in fisheries management and coral reef conservation and are currently working to renew and strengthen their fisheries laws and policies. They also share challenges facing their fisheries—including managing complex fisheries that catch dozens of species all together—rather than targeting just one or two.

I was excited to join partners from both countries at a recent intensive four day Fisheries Exchange where they learned from each other and discussed new ways to collaborate on solutions to shared challenges, including different management strategies for the ecosystem overall and for important species like lobster, conch, and many species of finfish.

The Exchange included learning both in the classroom, and on the water—with the goal of showcasing how diverse partnerships working together improves science and compliance, involves and educates more stakeholders, creates opportunities for community development and leads to better managed fisheries and protected areas that benefit users for the long term.

We know from our work with fishing communities around the world that often the best way to solve shared challenges is to connect groups of likeminded fisheries stakeholders to share experiences and solutions. Read More »

Also posted in Belize, Cuba / Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Are plastic eating bacteria the solution to ocean pollution? Science shows it’s not that simple

Recent reporting on the discovery and enhancement of plastic-dissolving enzymes in bacteria made me stop and think about what this might mean for the plastic pollution problem that is plaguing the oceans, including the world’s coral reefs.

While this development is interesting, and draws necessary focus to the immense problem of plastic pollution in the ocean, it is premature to guess whether these kinds of enzymes might provide an effective “silver bullet” for treating plastics floating in the five great gyres of the sea.

There is so much more we need to understand about the complex relationships between plastics and marine ecosystems before we can take draconian action. In other words, it’s too soon to start spraying the ocean with so-called plastic-eating bacteria. Read More »

Also posted in Science/Research / Tagged , , , | Comments are closed

The Fisheries White Paper, and Beyond

The UK Fisheries White Paper has finally landed. This hugely anticipated document provides a blueprint for future fisheries management in the UK as it forges the country’s own path after Brexit.  The paper sets out aspirations for achieving a ‘gold standard’ for UK fisheries management – an area which the paper acknowledges is of ‘totemic importance’.

A fresh start is a rare thing in fisheries management, and there’s plenty to indicate that the UK is ambitious in making the most of re-defining its approach to fisheries science and international relationships when it comes to our seas. We welcome innovative approaches to managing quota, such as the Government’s planned quota reserve, which will pool new quota potentially resulting from Brexit negotiations. This shows Government are switched on to the power of quota-based incentives to support best practice in sustainable fishing (as described in my previous blog on quota).  Concerns remain, however that there is still an imbalance between large and small scale operators and that Government should do more to make quota available to smaller, low impact vessels. Read More »

Also posted in Europe, Policy / Tagged , , | Comments are closed

In Sinaloa, Mexico fishermen are rewriting their legacy

A year ago, Fidel Insunza was not very optimistic about his future in fishing. With more than 30 years on the water, he has seen prosperous times come and go in Altata-Ensenada del Pabellon, a coastal lagoon system in Sinaloa, Mexico. Back in the “good days,” as he calls them, his income allowed him to buy a brand new pick-up truck or take his whole family on vacation to participate in Mazatlan’s famous Carnival. “Those were the days,” he recalls with nostalgia. Today, his income has reduced to a third of what it used to be. But he is not ready to give up on fishing just yet. “This is my life, the heart of my community, and I would choose to be a fisherman once more if I was born again. The only difference is that I would do it more responsibly,” he says. Read More »

Also posted in Mexico, Policy, Seafood / Tagged , , , , | Comments are closed

Why should you care about fisheries? They can help feed the world.

Credit: Alexis Rife

By:  Doug Rader and Kristin Kleisner

Food security is a hot button topic for today’s world leaders, and rightly so as the population swells to 10 billion people by the middle of the century. Feeding that many people is a huge challenge – creating an urgent call to action for resources to be managed more sustainably and equitably – and wild seafood plays a big role.

Typically, these discussions focus on land-based agriculture, including the production of grains, seeds, crops and livestock that, while subject to droughts, diseases and shortages, are the main source of world food consumption as measured by total calories. However, food sources from our oceans, lakes and rivers also play a large part in feeding the world, and deserve their place in the discussion.    Read More »

Also posted in Global Fisheries, Science/Research, Seafood / Tagged , | Read 1 Response

Indonesia advances sustainable fishing

In my 20 years working with fishery stakeholders in the United States, I saw time and again that good things happen when we band together to solve difficult problems.

I’m seeing it again now, in Indonesia, where I’ve been working as part of a team with local stakeholders to reshape their community fisheries.

In Indonesia’s Lampung Province, a collaborative effort to reform the local blue swimming crab fishery is not only leading to new protections for crab populations and habitat, and the communities that depends on them, but could also serve as a model for reform in other small-scale fisheries in Indonesia and around the world.

Credit: Alexis Rife

Two million Indonesian fishers and millions of others rely on the coast for their food and livelihoods. More than half of the nation’s animal protein comes from seafood. The country is one of the world’s largest seafood producers and exporters, and blue swimming crab is among its most important species, generating more than $300 million of economic activity a year. Read More »

Also posted in Policy, Seafood / Tagged , , , | Comments are closed