Selected category: Fish Forever project

Sustainable fishing is now within reach for two fishing communities in the Philippines

By: Emilie Litsinger & Lito Mancao (Director, Technical Operations, Rare Philippines)

Photo: Rare Philippines

Photo: Rare Philippines

The communities of Tinambac and Cantilan recently approved the first ever TURF+Reserve designs in the Philippines. This accomplishment follows months of hard work by the Fish Forever team and our talented on-site coordinators, and collaboration with the local government units, village leaders, key agencies, and, most importantly fishers, and community members.

This effort is part of the Fish Forever (FF) program: a collaboration of EDF, Rare, and the Sustainable Fisheries Group at University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) that empowers fishing communities in the developing tropics to manage their near-shore fisheries with a proven, sustainable management approach called TURF+Reserves.  In the Philippines, the goal of FF is to create a network of TURF+Reserves both within municipal waters (0-15km) and between adjoining municipalities.

These are historic milestones for the communities of Tinambac and Cantilan for many reasons.  Engaged communities and fishers laid the groundwork for sustainable fisheries management by working through and discussing their options to land on a design that works for them and meets their needs. Read More »

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TURF Tools: Exploring tools to help restore small-scale fisheries

Photo: Kaia Joye Moyer

Photo: Kaia Joye Moyer

By:  Kaia Joye Moyer, Masters Student at UC Santa Barbara’s Bren School of Environmental Science and Management

It is 5am. The sun is just rising, but Hermes Arandas, a fisher from Totolan, Dauis, Bohol in the Philippines, is anything but just waking up. Today he and six fellow fishers are pulling their banca, a long slender outrigger canoe into the boat landing area. The men left the harbor at 4 pm the previous day and have been out fishing all night.  Hermes tells me that he remembers fishing with his father. Back then, the fish were not far from shore, but today they can’t be found there.  In order to continue to support his family, Hermes must fish farther and longer because catch is decreasing and fish are getting smaller.

Unfortunately Hermes is not alone in his story. More than 90% of the fishermen around the world are small-scale fishers like Hermes, mostly living in developing nations. And while these fishers provide half of the global fish catch, they are also particularly vulnerable to overfishing because they rely on fish for both their livelihood and food source

It is stories like Hermes’ that brought us to the Philippines.

Read More »

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TURFtools: Exploring and Piloting Tools for Oceans Sustainability

TURFBlog1Small-scale coastal fisheries are central to the health of the ocean, livelihood, poverty alleviation and food security for millions around the world, but today many of them are severely threatened by chronic overfishing.

As the population increases and demand for seafood continues to rise, fishers harvest more, resulting in declining fish populations.  Open access fishing, in which anyone can fish anywhere, as much as they can, is at the root of the overfishing problem.

As more and more people harvest the fish, no one is held responsible for making sure the fish don’t run out. Instead, fishers try to catch as much fish as possible, as quickly as possible, because they believe that if they don’t, someone else will get there first.

That’s why EDF is working with small-scale fishers and communities to implement fisheries management programs that rewards sustainable fishing practices.  Read More »

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A Path Towards Strengthened Fisheries Management in Brazil

brazil1By: Erica Cunningham

Brazil represents one of South America’s most important countries in terms of small-scale fisheries. The country boasts one of the longest coastlines on the continent and more than 60 percent of landings come from artisanal fishing.  In addition, 98 percent of registered fishers in Brazil are small-scale.  However, the country remains a net importer of seafood and 80 percent of all fishing activities are considered to be unsustainable in terms of management. Beyond the science, there is real urgency to addressing this issue.  Billions of people in Brazil and around the world, often the poorest and most marginalized, depend on fish for protein. The combination of these factors make Brazil a perfect country for the Fish Forever partnership. Read More »

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Brazilian Fisheries: Big, Beautiful and Complex

Fishing shack along a mangrove channel, Brazil

Fishing shack along a mangrove channel, Brazil

I recently visited Brazil for the first time to work with our partners in Fish Forever to choose sites to work in over the next several years, with the goal of turning fisheries with declining yields and profits into success stories for fishermen, their communities, and the environment. Fish Forever is a partnership between Rare, the University of California at Santa Barbara, and the Environmental Defense Fund.

Brazil’s 300,000 square mile shelf produced about 550,000 tons of seafood in 2011, worth over $US 1.5 billion, and employs about 1 million people according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Read More »

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A Small-Scale Indonesian Fishery with a Big Market: Improving Blue Swimming Crab management

Blue Swimming Crab. Photo: Alexis Rife

Blue Swimming Crab. Photo: Alexis Rife

Indonesia is a nation of over 17,000 islands where fishing contributes significantly to local livelihoods, food security and culture:

  • Two million fishers + millions more people rely on the coast for their food and livelihoods
  • At least 50% of Indonesians’ animal protein comes from seafood

Indonesia is the second largest producer of wild capture seafood in the world, feeding Indonesians, but also exporting much to other countries. During a recent site visit to Indonesia, I was excited to learn about a local, small-scale fishery that plays a part in a big international seafood market: blue swimming crab. Read More »

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