Gardens of the Queen, Cuba. Photo: Noel Lopez Fernandez
By: Kendra Karr & Rod Fujita
There is a general consensus that transitioning to ecosystem-based fisheries management will result in better outcomes for both marine ecosystems and the people who depend on them. But what exactly does that mean, and how exactly can fisheries management get there?
Ecosystem-based fisheries management has been thoroughly debated and there are many aspects to it. But one thing seems clear. When developing conservation and management goals, the entire ecosystem should be considered rather than just an individual fish population.
To actually achieve such goals, scientists and managers would need to quantify fishing targets and limits and then take actions intended to maintain fisheries and the ecosystem within a “safe operating space” associated with the maintenance of a variety of ecosystem goods and services. In our new publication, we have moved one step closer to identifying these fishing targets and limits for management in multi-species fisheries in coral reefs. Read More
Belizean fisherman diving for conch and lobster. Photo credit: Jason Houston
More than 90% of the world’s 36 million fishers operate in small-scale fisheries—many of which are in developing countries. From sea to plate, these small-scale fisheries support more than 100 million jobs across the supply chain and produce half of the world’s seafood for local and global markets.
But as the world’s population increases and the demand for seafood rises, the supply for wild caught fish is plummeting. As a result, many small-scale fishing communities face job and food security threats and unfortunately lack access to the tools they need to sustainably manage their fisheries.
Developed by Environmental Defense Fund, a Framework for Integrated Stock and Habitat Evaluation (FISHE) equips fishermen and marine scientists with a swift, low-cost and highly effective method with which to assess and manage fisheries that lack sufficient fishing data. Read More
President Obama recently announced momentous changes in the United States policy toward Cuba. The implications of this sea-change are wide-ranging, including the potential for enhanced scientific collaborations, and more effective and cooperative environmental management. EDF has a long and diverse history of productive partnerships in Cuba, which have shown us quite clearly this potential.
A recent example involved a delegation of seven Cuban fishery managers, scientists and industry leaders joining four EDF staff and two partners from the Mexican organization COBI at the Center for Coastal Studies (CCS) in Provincetown, Massachusetts, at the very end of Cape Cod. There, the group had wide-ranging discussions of experiences, challenges and successes in improving management of marine resources. The workshop had a particular focus on better use and integration of spatially-explicit science and management tools. These include protected areas, area-based allocation systems (e.g., territorial user rights for fishing, or TURFs), and multi-use planning zones. We also paid close attention to the governance structures needed to ensure effective, responsive and participatory management. Read More
The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in North America and is one of the most biologically productive areas on the East Coast. Part of EDF’s work in the Northeast is focused on the incredible Chesapeake Bay and its once prosperous fisheries, some of which are now in serious trouble.
But we see some encouraging news for the Chesapeake Bay – and for its iconic blue crabs – with the appointment of Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe to the Chair of the Chesapeake Bay Executive Council. Read More
Photo by Corey Arnold
Followers of this blog have already heard about major milestones that West Coast groundfish trawl fishermen achieved during 2014. In June, the Marine Stewardship Council recognized the remarkable progress made in this catch share fishery over the last decade, and certified 13 trawl-caught species as sustainable. In October, the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program upgraded 21 trawl species to sustainable status, helping to change perceptions and opening up potential new market opportunities for West Coast trawlers.
While supply-chain and consumer perceptions gradually adjust to recognize those positive realities, many groundfish fishermen are still struggling to hang on and make a living. Helping reduce their operating costs so that fishing can become more profitable has been a primary focus of our West Coast team, and now we can celebrate a win on that front with the passage of S. 1275, the Revitalizing the Economy of Fisheries in the Pacific Act, also known as the REFI Pacific Act. Read More
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