EDFish

Indonesia advances sustainable fishing

In my 20 years working with fishery stakeholders in the United States, I saw time and again that good things happen when we band together to solve difficult problems.

I’m seeing it again now, in Indonesia, where I’ve been working as part of a team with local stakeholders to reshape their community fisheries.

In Indonesia’s Lampung Province, a collaborative effort to reform the local blue swimming crab fishery is not only leading to new protections for crab populations and habitat, and the communities that depends on them, but could also serve as a model for reform in other small-scale fisheries in Indonesia and around the world.

Credit: Alexis Rife

Two million Indonesian fishers and millions of others rely on the coast for their food and livelihoods. More than half of the nation’s animal protein comes from seafood. The country is one of the world’s largest seafood producers and exporters, and blue swimming crab is among its most important species, generating more than $300 million of economic activity a year. Read More »

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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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Want to save the Ocean? There’s an App for that

If I were an App I would probably be something simple and boring – but maybe with one or two tricks up my sleeve – like ‘Flashlight’ or ‘Compass’. (Side note: how cool is the level in Compass?)

Fortunately for you, I am neither an App nor an App developer. But I’ve had the privilege to learn more about both through my involvement as a judge for Fishackathon. Originally launched by the U.S. State Department as part of the Our Ocean conference, this one-of-a-kind biennial event brings together thousands of coders from all over the world to deploy their unique expertise towards improving the health of the oceans through novel software and hardware development. This year’s competition was hosted in 36 cities by my new best friends at HackerNest, and by some accounts it was the largest conservation-oriented hackathon in history. (Another side note: I’m pretty sure I’ve never said that combination of words out loud, but it sounds pretty cool.) Read More »

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How getting fishing right can help protect threatened ocean wildlife

It’s safe to say that a wide range of people are passionate about protecting the wild and wonderful creatures of the sea.  My most moving underwater experience – during twenty years and more than 1,200 scuba dives – was a prolonged close encounter off St. Croix, in the US Virgin Islands, with a juvenile humpback whale, which kept coming back to interact intimately with our small group, again and again.  I will never forget that gift from the sea, and have dedicated my career as a marine scientist to protecting ocean ecosystems and the people who depend on them. Read More »

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