EDFish

Moving beyond the status quo(ta): How the UK can build a sustainable and secure future for fishing

© MWC Marine

In their overwhelming support for Brexit, UK fishermen were seeking to upend the status quo. But now that this message has been received, the next big challenge is not about the status quo, but about the state of quota.

As the media, environmentalists and industry examine UK fisheries from every angle, the Q word keeps cropping up. Quota: what to do with it? Who deserves more – or less? And how can we ensure future UK fisheries are a vibrant patchwork of sustainable industrial and small-scale fishing operations, providing a secure backbone to coastal economies? As the UK decides on how to handle quota post-Brexit, it must try to deliver on the hopes for greater prosperity of fishermen working on big boats and small. Read More »

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Key ingredients for shared ocean prosperity in Spain

Here’s a simple idea: give communities who rely on fishing for their food, the roots of their culture and heritage, and – crucially – their livelihoods, a voice in deciding how the seas around them are managed.  If we hope to have thriving, resilient oceans that support more fish, feed more people and improve prosperity—fishing communities must help lead the way.

Five years ago, Environmental Defense Fund Europe partnered with WWF Spain with the goal of working directly with fishermen across Spain’s diverse tapestry of small-scale fisheries to make this simple idea a reality.

The hope was that by giving coastal communities a stake and a presence in management decision-making for their fisheries new, locally-tailored ways could be found to meet goals set out in the Europe-wide Common Fisheries Policy. Here in Europe, this collaborative approach is called co-management. We also hoped to prove the value of the rich, traditional knowledge found in all these communities – where fishing and saltwater are in the locals’ blood – and establish systems that give fishers a secure right to fish in the long-term, strengthening small-scale fishing businesses. Read More »

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West Coast fishermen are having their fish and protecting habitat too

Decisions about protected areas can be contentious. It isn’t often that fishermen and environmentalists find ourselves celebrating new protected areas together, but on the West Coast we’re doing just that.

This week, I had the pleasure of being present as the Pacific Fishery Management Council voted to support a collaborative effort to reopen thousands of square miles of previously-closed West Coast fishing grounds, much of it in the Rockfish Conservation Area (RCA) while at the same time protecting 140,000 square-miles of highly valuable fish habitat. That’s bigger than the state of New Mexico! Read More »

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We shouldn’t ignore these conservation threats in fish bills

This year has featured a flurry of fisheries-oriented bills, many with provisions that threaten to undermine the significant progress the United States has made in reducing overfishing and rebuilding overfished fisheries.  Understandably, much of our attention as conservationists has been on the threats to annual catch limits, accountability, and rebuilding requirements.  But this focus risks missing other aspects of the bills that also threaten conservation without providing any real benefit to commercial fishermen, anglers or seafood consumers.

A closer look at the catch share, reallocation, and exempted fishing permit (EFP) provisions of H.R. 200 and S. 1520 reveals that they would hamstring effective conservation and management.  While controversies, complexities, and pressures have led to a push for action on these bills, in the always-complex world of fisheries management, the provisions discussed below are all risk and no reward. Read More »

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Science shows that fish are moving, but can fishermen adapt to warming waters?

Europe is already witnessing first-hand shifts in commercially important species such as mackerel, herring and cod. The International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) recently documented that 16 out of 23 key commercial species in European waters are shifting management areas, with eight of these species moving outside their historic zones.

The North East Atlantic is not immune to the shifts caused by climate change. These waters are home to some of Europe’s most sustainable fisheries as well as complex, highly developed scientific and governance systems. With these complex systems and challenges in mind, the European community is coming together to understand and find effective solutions to the problems being caused by climate change in their fisheries. To spur collaborative action, EDF released a new report outlining tools and approaches to address climate change impacts already being felt in the North East Atlantic region. Read More »

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Four lessons from European fisheries to consider in 2018

Almost a year ago, my colleague Erik Lindebo (now walking the corridors of power at the European Commission) wrote this prescient piece on the ‘interesting times’ facing Europe and its fisheries.

This seems like a good moment, as we start the New Year, to reflect on what we’ve learnt during these interesting times, and how those lessons will shape EDF’s work in 2018. Read More »

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