EDFish

More Hope for Corals

Nearly three years ago, I broke with conventional wisdom to note that there was ample reason to have hope for coral reefs despite the very obvious threats associated with global climate change, including both warming and acidification. Since then, researchers — and coral-lovers of all stripes from all over the world — have made important progress in identifying ways to sustain corals against difficult odds. Read More »

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Carbon and the Deep Blue Sea: Why Recovering Fish Stocks Hold the Key to Sequestering Carbon at the Bottom of the Sea

Important progress is underway around the world to emplace sustainability in wild ocean fisheries. The big surprise, however, is that getting fisheries right at the global scale may also make an unexpected and potentially very significant down payment on helping fight global warming.

We have known for some time that fixing fisheries management is the right answer for economic and ecosystem well-being under today’s conditions. That outcome is moving from the  theoretical to the realm of the possible. For example, the past 12 months have seen the profound transformation of fisheries framework laws in Japan and Cuba, and Belize is about to follow suit. Even China has joined the hunt, both for reforming its own domestic fisheries — the biggest in the world — and also in the way the country imagines “environmental civilization” and the future of the world ocean. 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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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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Science is at the core of the sustainable management and conservation of Mexico’s marine resources

What if scientists, governments and citizens had access to a database that held everything we know about our oceans? This snapshot of the current state of science would be invaluable to understand the state of ocean health, would help build scientific solutions to climate-driven ocean problems and could spur new collaboration and amplify current conservation efforts.

Luckily for all of us passionate about the oceans in Mexico, this amazing database is not just a fantasy. It is now a reality in Mexico thanks to the collaborative efforts of Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and Mexican researchers from several institutes including the University of British Columbia and the Mexican National Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity (CONABIO). 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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