EDFish

The Silver Anniversary of Sustainable Fisheries

Unsustainable fishing remains among the planet’s most serious and elusive environmental challenges. When it comes to the ocean, scientists agree that while reducing and mitigating climate risks is the biggest long-term threat, getting fishing intensity right is the biggest near-term need. Read More »

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IUCN WCC | Sustainable fisheries & biodiversity conservation — working together in the face of climate change

Over the past week, representatives from organizations and countries from around the world have come together for critical discussions about protecting and enhancing biodiversity in the face of climate change at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Marseille, France. For the first time at the WCC, restoring ocean health was one of the central discussion themes, as a “marine journey.”

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Cuba and the U.S. can only solve shared conservation challenges by working together

By: Katherine Angier and Dan Whittle

Over the past few years, U.S. policy toward Cuba has been a series of unilateral actions that have had severe impacts on the Cuban economy and undermined its emergent private sector, without any apparent benefits to the U.S.

Diverse groups are pushing back against these restrictions, from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to public interest groups, from churches to a growing bipartisan coalition in Congress. They recognize that engagement is still our best chance of resolving decades-long disputes and tackling shared challenges.

The administration’s approach has substantially decreased economic and cultural exchange and created a chilling effect in other areas. Nonetheless, not all doors to travel, dialogue or cooperation have closed, and it’s essential we work to keep them open. In particular, the ongoing collaboration between Cuban and U.S. scientists has been fruitful, with tangible benefits to the people of both countries. Read More »

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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 »

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Cuban communities forging an innovative path to marine conservation

Celeste, Dafnet, Evelin, Fidel, Laura, Maikel, Patricia, Rafael, Valentín and Yudier. These are not the names of hurricanes, but the names of Cubans whose ideas and innovative actions have the constructive energy of a hurricane.

The energy of these people has been key to advancing marine sustainability in Cuba. Moreover, they are not alone. Across the island, there are up-and-coming initiatives that share common visions. They owe part of their success to the momentum of already established learning networks that facilitate the exchange of information and experiences. Learning networks help bring people together to solve complex problems. They are designed to create and disseminate information, to align common visions to facilitate collective action and therefore these problems. 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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