“The best way to get something done is to tell a fisherman it can’t be done.”
– Bob Dooley, veteran fisherman and industry leader
With support from a Saltonstall-Kennedy grant and the Packard Foundation, EDF’s Pacific team joined with an all-star Steering Committee this month to convene a Gear Modification Workshop in Newport, Oregon. More than 70 fishermen from the West Coast and Alaska, along with scientists, net manufacturers, fishery managers, electronics experts, NGO representatives and others came together for two very enjoyable days of intensive information sharing.
The West Coast groundfish trawl fishery is a laboratory of gear innovation these days because the catch share management system requires fishermen to account for every fish caught. Having operated under catch share systems for many years, Alaska fishermen and researchers brought their experiences to bear. Since unwanted or undersized fish count against a fisherman’s overall quota, the incentive to “fish clean” is much higher than in less-accountable fisheries. Fishermen are deploying underwater cameras and working with net manufacturers to design nets that fish more selectively, reduce bottom impact and save on fuel costs. Likewise, Alaska fishermen and researchers have long been leaders in gear innovation, and they brought their perspectives and expertise to share with their West Coast counterparts.
Photo credit: Jason Houston
Many of the world’s fish are caught in small-scale fisheries that lack data about the health of fish populations, giving managers very limited information to base management decisions on. In turn, most of these fisheries appear to be under-performing with respect to conservation, the amount of food they can produce, the amount of money they can generate, and the quality of the livelihoods they can support. There is a perception that these fisheries cannot be assessed without large amounts of data. Because of this perception, many fisheries remain unassessed, ineffectively managed or not managed at all leading to under performance or even collapse.
Fortunately, there are alternatives: fishermen and women, community members, managers and scientists are collaborating to bridge the data gap for these important fishing communities; increasing knowledge and resources for effective fishery assessment and management. While these collaborations have started to fill in the gaps, we still need input from fishery managers and practitioners for a complete picture of the data.
In collaboration with small-scale fisheries around the world, we are beginning to collect information on the pathway and tools employed in actions of science-based fishery co-management in small-scale, data-limited contexts. Read More
By: Alexis Rife & Jake Kritzer
Any fishery functions as a series of complex interactions among an ecosystem, the political arena, the economy, cultural norms and traditions, and other systems. Understanding these interacting systems is critical for achieving EDF’s triple bottom line goals: more fish in the sea, more food on the plate, and more prosperous communities. EDF has been tackling this challenge by bringing together expertise spanning disciplinary boundaries, including biology and ecology, social sciences, policy analysis, and business planning. Members of EDF’s Fishery Solutions Center recently spent two days in Boston meeting with partners from Yale University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to integrate research efforts in support of sustainable fisheries worldwide.
Participants reviewed the recent global macro-analysis of the biological, social and economic upside that can be realized by aligning incentives in fisheries through the application of well-designed fishing rights. We then considered three parallel analyses that allow deeper understanding of how to best design scientific, policy and market systems that allow for the upside to be realized. Read More
Market Trip, Port en Bessin. Photo: Dimitri Rogoff
Since 2012, when the increasingly hostile clash between French and UK Channel scallop fishermen made headlines; industry leaders, national administrations and a host of other stakeholders have worked to resolve the conflict and achieve positive change to protect the viability of this economically and culturally important fishery. The work of the GAP2 Project, an EU funded initiative, has been a vital force in the progress achieved so far in alleviating historic tensions and moving towards a more conciliatory approach.
In a previous post outlining the successes and challenges of the first GAP2 Channel scallop workshop in Brixham, England I spoke of the importance of bringing industry and others together to engage in participatory and collaborative dialogue on achieving greater profitability and sustainability for this valuable fishery. I also emphasised the need for a follow up workshop focused on putting dialogue into action and mapping out next steps to develop a regional management plan. Read More
Photo: Pseudopanax at English Wikipedia
By: Raul Garcia Rodriguez, WWF Spain, and Pam Ruiter, EDF EU Oceans
Raul Garcia is WWF Spain’s Fisheries Officer and Pam Ruiter is a Project Manager for EDF’s EU Oceans team based in Spain, where EDF and WWF are collaborating on a project working with coastal fisheries.
Shared by fishermen from Spain and Portugal, the octopus fishery in the waters off the coast of the Iberian Peninsula is economically important and complex. In late January, we attended the International Forum on Octopus Management in the Iberian Peninsula held in Santiago de Compostela, Spain to discuss management challenges in the fishery.
The forum was organised by WWF Spain, WWF UK and the EU GAP2 project, and included a group of 70 stakeholders including members of the fishing sector, management and civil society from across Spain, as well as representatives from Portugal. 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