Protecting imperiled ocean travelers

Photo: Noel Lopez-Fernandez

Photo: Noel Lopez-Fernandez

By: Katie Westfall & Melissa Mahoney

Across the globe, populations of many highly migratory species of fish, turtles and marine mammals have hit dangerously low levels. For example, Western Pacific leatherbacks have declined more than 80 percent, and their Eastern Pacific counterparts have declined by more than 97 percent. Many of these species play vital roles in maintaining balanced ocean ecosystems full of diversity and life. As we work to reverse these declines, environmentalists have to ensure that everything we do has the greatest positive impact. This means that we’ll need smart management at home and solutions that protect highly migratory species wherever they roam.

New research suggests that well-intentioned U.S. regulations designed to help species like sharks and sea turtles may actually create a net harm to imperiled sea life.

This unintentional negative dynamic can occur when a country, like the United States, unilaterally adopts a regulation to protect an imperiled species such as sea turtles or sharks caught as bycatch. If the regulation leads to decreased fishing domestically and shifts fishing internationally to countries where bycatch rates are higher, the net result can be a higher number of bycatch deaths for the very species the regulation intended to protect. This phenomenon has been called the “transfer effect.” Read More »

Posted in Global Fisheries, International, Science/Research| Tagged , , , , , | Comments are closed

New wave of Electronic Monitoring projects in U.S. fisheries highlighted at national workshop

emThe second national electronic monitoring workshop was held in Seattle, Washington late last year. Hosted by NOAA Fisheries, the goal was to bring together fisheries monitoring and management experts to share what’s working in EM implementation projects, what’s not, and to develop solutions and paths forward.

The workshop was also a celebration of significant progress taking place. Since the first national workshop held in January 2014, there has been a large scale EM regulatory program implemented in the Atlantic HMS fishery and regulations authorizing EM programs developed through Regional exempted fishing permit and cooperative research projects are scheduled for implementation in 2017 and 2018 in several different fisheries around the country.

These new programs all provide examples of one or more ‘best practices’ for EM, such as user-centered design approaches, clear goals established at the outset, and consistent collaboration among stakeholders. Read More »

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What is needed to sustain healthy ocean ecosystems and local livelihoods in Myanmar?

Workers help grow and maintain soft crabs that are purchased by surrounding mangrove islands within the Myeik archipelago.

Workers help grow and maintain soft crabs that are purchased by surrounding mangrove islands within the Myeik archipelago.

Myanmar is a nation with a diverse array of ecosystems, each contributing significantly to local livelihoods, food security and culture. There is tremendous potential for Myanmar’s fisheries, if sustainably managed, to support the ecological, economic and social welfare of its people. The transition to sustainability will require an overarching plan that includes the use of new data collection and fisheries management tools to overcome the challenges these fisheries face and help them reach their full potential.

New science and collaborations among EDF, WCS and Cornell build on efforts of the Thriving Marine Fisheries in Myanmar initiative, offering solutions to support Myanmar’s efforts to steward sustainable and productive fisheries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read More »

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Working together to address challenges in Swedish fisheries

iphone-1005*UpdateWe are delighted to announce that on Friday 16th December 2016 the Swedish Government released a final version of the new demersal management framework: enshrining in law a system which Swedish fishermen have been working towards for two years. This announcement is the culmination of a co-management process that has seen fishing industry and policy-makers collaborating to develop a strong working relationship, and a management system, that hopefully will be resilient to challenges and secure a long-term, sustainable future for Sweden's demersal fleet. We're heading into 2017 with great optimism for fishing communities: who are now able to adapt their fishing practices to meet the Landing Obligation, and fish safely and prosperously according to weather and season. While this is a moment of celebration for all involved in the process, EDF is committed to seeing this system working well on the water and will be alongside fishermen as they implement the new rules, supporting this step-change in their daily activities.*

Sweden, along with the rest of the EU, is tackling the challenge of phasing out the discarding of fish. While Sweden is a relatively small fishing nation in relation to our Scandinavian neighbours, the conditions for sustainable fisheries and co-management structures are strong. This is especially true after a recent fishermen-led collaboration resulted in recommendations for a new management plan designed to meet the challenges of the discard ban while ensuring a prosperous future for their businesses.

The word “co-management” means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. This is especially true when it comes to policymaking processes. I have been working closely with fishermen to improve fisheries management for three years. In this blog post I want to illustrate what co-management means to me and my work and why I believe it is so important to recognize that fishermen are at the centre of lasting solutions. Read More »

Posted in Europe, International, Policy| Tagged , , , , | Comments are closed

New Management Measures Needed in Essential Tuna Fisheries

img_6322-002Tuna are one of the most iconic fish species, recognized all over the world for their importance ecologically, economically and culturally. As top predators, tuna—like sharks—are extremely important in structuring and regulating marine ecosystems, which in turn helps make the ocean more resilient to a changing climate and other stressors.  Tuna are one of the most popular seafood products consumed around the world, but at present almost half (46%) of global tuna stocks are overfished or are slightly overfished[1].

Given the importance of the species, and the challenges facing them, setting clear management goals and mechanisms to achieve these goals is necessary to ensure the long term viability of Pacific tuna fisheries. Read More »

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New Report Highlights Challenges, Opportunities, and Cost-Modeling of Electronic Fisheries Monitoring Programs

pacific-sascha-burkardOne of the keys to effective fisheries management in the 21st century is accountability. Accountability requires having timely and accurate data. Electronic monitoring (EM) is gaining momentum in U.S. fisheries and abroad as an efficient means of meeting accountability requirements. Yet the ‘recipe’ for implementation of EM has not been perfected, and the price tag – and who pays – is not always clear. These challenges partly explain why the rate of uptake has been painfully slow, even as industry increasingly bears the brunt of human observer costs without any cheaper alternatives.

Recognizing the need to better understand the costs associated with EM, EDF’s Pacific team engaged a group of experts – Dr. Gil Sylvia, Dr. Michael Harte and Dr. Chris Cusack of Oregon State University – to analyze the costs of fishery monitoring systems such as EM and traditional At-Sea Observers (ASO). The goal of this research is to describe the state of EM in U.S. fisheries with both agency and industry stakeholders to better enable them to compare costs and tradeoffs between EM and ASO programs.  If monitoring costs go down, profitability goes up, and everyone wins. Read More »

Posted in Domestic, Science/Research| Tagged , , | Comments are closed
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