EDFish

The Blue Economy: from principles to practice

In recent years, investment circles have been abuzz with a bright new shiny object — the “Blue Economy.” Pick an impact investor, development bank or conservation fund out of a hat, and chances are there is a mention of the Blue Economy somewhere on their website. (Although technically, the Blue Economy has existed ever since humans began engaging in maritime commerce, but that’s another story.) Read More »

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A multinational plan for climate resilient fisheries in the Humboldt Current

By Erica Cunningham and Merrick Burden

Climate impacts will be acutely felt by the millions of people living in fishing communities around the globe, and those in the Humboldt Current region of South America face immediate and difficult challenges. The Humboldt Current is one of the world’s largest and most productive marine ecosystems and spans most of the Pacific coast of South America, from Ecuador all the way to the tip of Chile. It also accounts for between 6% and 20% of the world’s total marine fish catch, depending on the year. Fish products from the Humboldt Current enter global supply chains and help to feed humans and animals as well as contribute to pharmaceutical products. Given the huge impact Humboldt Current fisheries have on the region and the world, it is a priority to ensure they become resilient to the effects of climate change. That’s why Environmental Defense Fund is working with national science and management agencies in the region on a multinational plan to help ensure a brighter future. Read More »

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The promise and peril of manufactured seafood

Credit: Marco Verch via Flickr Creative Commons

Today, there are only two ways to produce seafood: fishermen can catch wild fish, or fish can be farmed in a process called aquaculture. Both methods have many benefits, but also can have adverse impacts on the environment. A growing number of companies are trying to develop alternative ways to produce “seafood,” like “tuna” made by growing tuna cells in a lab.

Will these alternatives make it commercially? If they do, will that result in big environmental benefits or contribute to food security? Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) recently looked into these questions. Read More »

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Will calamari play an important role in future climate-resilient fisheries?

Global reported squid catches (Millions of metric tons, 1950-2015). While squid catches have increased in recent years, year to year changes have also increased. Data accessed from FAO database. Plot by R. Boenish

Besides being the star in calamari appetizers, squid play the crucial roles of both predator and prey in marine ecosystems. Globally, squid can be found in nearly every ocean habitat from seagrass beds, to coral reefs, to the open ocean. Squid fisheries provide livelihoods and high-quality protein to communities, large and small all over the world. And as it turns out, studying squid can teach us valuable lessons about how to build climate-resilient fisheries. A new paper in Fisheries Research will help fishery managers predict where jumbo squid (Dosidicus gigas) populations might migrate under different scenarios of climate change, and help researchers understand why some species are more resilient than others.

While overall squid catches (all species combined) have increased in recent years, it is unclear what the future will hold in the face of climate change and other pressures. Healthy ecosystems depend on resilience from all links of the food chain. This research, which I contributed to along with a number of leading marine research organizations including Shanghai Ocean University, The University of Washington and The University of Maine, suggests that squid may play a more important role in improving climate resilience in the world’s fisheries than previously thought. Read More »

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Let’s embrace a new narrative for the ocean

Even though the world ocean is beset from every angle by serious threats – from overfishing to pollution, and from habitat loss to climate-driven warming and acidification – our ocean remains an essential life support system for planet Earth. Not only do more than three billion people depend upon the sea as an essential source of protein for their diet, but nearly 1.4 billion of them risk serious health consequences should they lose existing access to fish and other marine products. Recent science has made plain that if current threats continue, the chance for a more stable future becomes increasingly difficult for people and nature together.

Now, two of the world’s leading ocean experts, Dr. Jane Lubchenco and Dr. Steve Gaines have issued a clear call for change in the new edition of Science. For all who care about the future of the sea – and therefore humanity – Drs. Lubchenco and Gaines call on us to band together to ensure that the world ocean retains its vibrancy and potential, despite this uncertain future. Read More »

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Five takeaways from the World Small-Scale Fisheries Congress

Photo Credit: Alexis Rife

The hustle and bustle of a local fish market – usually seen in the pre-dawn dark, with bare-bulb lights illuminating what’s for sale and the shouts from sellers (usually in a language I don’t understand but with meaning clear enough to get out of the way of carts brimming with ice and fish) – is my favorite place to learn about small-scale fisheries. This is where it all comes together, with fishermen landing their catch, buyers (usually women) negotiating prices and customers buying products for that day’s meal or business. Here is where I am a learner and observer – hearing details about challenges these individuals face in maintaining their livelihoods, seeing the pride people have in their work and chatting about what we all can do to sustain the jobs, food, communities and ecosystems that are part of this system. Read More »

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