Selected tags: Fishermen

EDF Wins Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Award for California Fisheries Fund

Environmental Defense Fund was awarded California’s highest environmental honor by Governor Jerry Brown at a ceremony last night for our creation of the California Fisheries Fund (CFF). The CFF, the first fisheries-specific loan fund in California and most comprehensive in the United States, provides capital to fishermen, fishing businesses and communities who are dedicated to safeguarding the environment, their fishery’s profitability and the greater oceans economy.

The award ceremony was hosted by California EPA in Sacramento, California. During his remarks, California EPA secretary Matthew Rodriguez said that the “entities that we’re recognizing tonight are really showing us the way forward. Their unique approach shows how, given a challenge, California businesses, nonprofit organizations and businesses can really rise to the occasion.”

There can be many business challenges for fishermen to transition to more environmentally-friendly fishing practices but with the California Fisheries Fund, we’re removing roadblocks and helping fishermen continue on the path to fishing sustainably and profitably.

So far, we have awarded fourteen loans totaling nearly $1.7 million to eleven borrowers including fishermen, fishing businesses and communities. Most recently, we closed a loan to Steve Fitz, a Half Moon Bay fisherman who attended the award ceremony with us.. Steve’s CFF loan allowed him to buy his boat from his uncle and carry on his family’s sustainable fishing legacy—operating the only commercial fishing operation in the nation that uses Scottish Seine gear. The most eco-friendly way to catch flatfish like Petrale sole and sand dabs, Scottish Seine gear consists of lines which gently guide fish into the path of light-weight nets. Unlike some other types of fishing techniques, Scottish Seine doesn’t use heavy gear that drags along the ocean floor. Read More »

Posted in Catch Shares, EDF Oceans General, Pacific, Seafood| Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

California Fisheries Fund Closes New Loan

The California Fisheries Fund closed a new loan last month that will help a family fishing business pass the torch to the next generation.

 Steve Fitz, captain of the F/V Mr. Morgan, will continue his family tradition operating the only commercial fishing operation in the United States that uses Scottish Seine gear, a selective and eco-friendly way to catch groundfish. Steve’s loan from the CFF helped him buy the Mr. Morgan from his uncle and start up Mr. Morgan Fisheries, a fishing business based in Half Moon Bay, specializing in sustainably harvested groundfish and Dungeness crab.

Mr. Morgan Fisheries is known for its sand dabs, Petrale sole and chilipepper rockfish—all species sustainably-managed under a catch share program. Like all other participants in this catch share program, the Mr. Morgan receives an individual fishing quota for several groundfish species that may be harvested throughout the year, with requirements for full accountability of every pound of fish harvested, and a human observer on every fishing trip. These new fishing practices guarantee there is no overfishing and Steve can use that message to market his fish with the 100% Federal At-Sea Monitoring No Overfishing Guaranteed label.

Steve Fitz grew up fishing with his father in New England before moving west and graduating from University of Denver with a degree in business. About eighteen years ago, he moved out to Half Moon Bay, California, to fish with his uncle, eventually becoming the captain of the F/V Mr. Morgan in 2000. Read More »

Posted in EDF Oceans General, Fishermen Voices, Pacific, Seafood| Also tagged , , , , | Comments closed

EDF Oceans Accomplishments of 2012 & Goals for 2013

In the United States today, 65% of all fish caught in federal U.S. waters comes from catch share programs, which helped drive a 17 year high in fish landings last year. We are continuing to see evidence that catch shares can help to rebuild fish populations while providing fishermen with more stable and profitable jobs as the stock recovers. Last year was exciting and productive for our Oceans team. We want to look back at the year with you, and look forward to how we will continue working with fishermen and fishery managers to restore fish populations at home and abroad. Our goals for 2013 are to:

  • Improve the health and profitability of U.S. commercial fisheries and ocean ecosystems
  • Advance Pilot Projects that improve recreational fisheries by partnering with recreational fishermen
  • Promote catch shares internationally
  • Work with fishery stakeholders and scientists to improve science, data collection and monitoring in both catch share and non-catch share fisheries for improved management.

2012 Accomplishments:

United States:

  • In 2011, just three catch share programs (the Pacific Groundfish IFQ, New England sector program, and the Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper IFQ programs) saved nearly 16 million pounds of fish from being wasted last year as discards—enough to feed about one million Americans their seafood for a year.
  • In the Pacific Region, January 2012 marked the first-year anniversary of a catch share management program for more than 60 species of commercially important groundfish. EDF played a key role in the program’s development, and we are working hard to ensure its durability. In the first year, West Coast fishermen discarded 80% fewer fish than in the previous year, and their revenues reached $54 million—42% higher than the previous five-year average (2011 NOAA Report). Read More »

Posted in Catch Shares, EDF Oceans General| Also tagged , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Seattle Times Cites Benefits of West Coast Catch Share Program

Winona J Docked in Newport, Oregon

"This is a really big deal," said Will Stelle in a Sunday Seattle Times story which highlights the benefits of the groundfish catch share program on the West Coast. "It is restructuring the architecture of the fishery, building in very real and powerful incentives to do the right thing," said the Northwest regional administrator for the National Marine Fisheries Service. The article cites several benefits that West Coast fishermen are seeing, including dramatic reduction of regulatory discards, fishing gear innovations and improved revenues. To read the full article, click here.

Posted in Catch Shares, EDF Oceans General, Pacific, Seafood| Also tagged , , , , , , | Comments closed

‘Deadliest Catch’ Fisherman Explains How His Job is Less Deadly Thanks to Catch Shares

The Discovery Channel’s The Deadliest Catch portrays just how dangerous commercial fishing can be. However, in today’s Wall Street Journal, Bering Sea fisherman and a cast member of the show, Scott Campbell, Jr., shares how the Alaska crab fishery is now significantly safer following the implementation of catch shares in August 2005. Read the full article here.

Posted in Catch Shares, Pacific| Also tagged , , , , | Comments closed

Collaboration with Industry is Crucial to Protect Fish and Put Fishermen Back on the Water

Heather Paffe, Regional Director, Gulf of Mexico and Southeast

Heather Paffe, Regional Director, Gulf of Mexico and Southeast - EDF Oceans

In many fisheries, the rules for recreational fishing are tightened every year. This is bad for charter, tackle and other businesses; it keeps anglers off the water and it threatens the U.S.’s long-standing fishing heritage.

It’s clear that current fishing rules aren’t working.  EDF believes that collaboration between conservationists, fishermen, and managers is the best way to find a new management approach that works to protect fish – so that they’re more plentiful in the future – and put fishermen back on the water. If things don’t change, the federal government will continue to impose more rules, such as widespread closures.

Last week EDF hosted a collaborative workshop with for-hire (charter) fishermen from across the country to understand how their fishery management can be improved in order to truly recover popular fisheries.  Understanding if catch shares could work for for-hire fisheries was an important part of this discussion.  This workshop is one among many in which EDF has reached out to fishermen to better understand their concerns and discuss potential solutions that work to improve fishermen’s access and catches as well as recover fish populations.  Sportsmen already carry a well-known conservation ethic, which will help guide future progress.

Future access for responsible recreational fishing is threatened due to flawed federal management practices and a “business as usual” approach will only accelerate this trend. We can and should advance innovative reforms that build off the existing conservation ethic of sustainability through stewardship that our nation’s sportsmen embody. It all begins by starting the conversation.

Posted in Catch Shares, Gulf of Mexico, South Atlantic| Also tagged , , , | Comments closed

Catch Share Design Manual and Online Design Center Provide Guidance for Fishery Managers and Fishermen

Kate Bonzon, EDF Director of Design Services

Kate Bonzon, EDF Director of Design Services

Kate Bonzon leads Catch Share Design Services at EDF and authored the Catch Share Design Manual along with her team, Karly McIlwain, Kent C. Strauss, and Tonya Van Leuvan.

Overfishing is the biggest driver of declining fisheries globally, and conventional fishery management approaches have failed to correct this. Conventional management has led to unsafe derby-style fishing, increasingly shrinking fishing seasons, and low market prices all while fish populations in the ocean continue to decline.

We need a different approach.

Catch share management is a solution to overfishing that keeps fishermen on the water and fishing as fish resources recover. Under catch share management, managers establish a scientifically-set, fishery-wide catch limit; assign portions of the catch, or shares, to individuals or groups of fishermen; and hold them directly accountable to stay within the catch limit.

Increasingly, fishery managers and fishermen are looking to catch shares as a locally-designed solution to failed fisheries management (about 275 programs already exist worldwide in fisheries large and small). Identifying the biological, economic and social goals of a fishery and incorporating design elements to meet these goals is critical to the program’s success for fishermen, fishing communities and the resource. As fishery managers and fishermen go through the design process, they have a flexible array of options from which to choose.

But, understanding what options exist and what process works for catch share design has been a key challenge in program development. 

Now there’s a dynamic new tool and guide to help improve understanding of catch share programs around the world: the Catch Share Design Center.  The Design Center includes several new tools and resources:

  • The Catch Share Design Manual, which is the first-ever comprehensive overview and roadmap through the catch share design process, drawing on hundreds of fisheries in over 30 countries and expertise from over 60 fishery experts from around the world.  The Design Manual is not prescriptive, but rather, poses a series of questions and highlights frequently used approaches from around the world.  It describes a 7-Step process to guide and inform the design of catch shares for commercial fisheries, including four in-depth case studies of fisheries that have implemented catch shares. The case studies provide comprehensive, real-life examples of the design Steps and decisions in action.
  • The global database of catch share fisheries allows users to explore and understand the design elements and characteristics for 275 catch share programs worldwide. The database is dynamic, being updated regularly, including with information from viewers or other experts.
  • The directory of resources serves as a forum for catch share experts and businesses to connect with fishery managers and fishermen engaged in catch share design and implementation.
  • Go Fish, No Fish is a game-oriented teaching tool that illustrates the differences in conventional fishery management and catch shares.

The Catch Share Design Center seeks to provide cutting-edge information and tools to fishery managers, fishermen and others in order to advance the development and implementation of catch share programs.  We welcome your participation in this endeavor.

Posted in Catch Share Conversations, Catch Shares| Also tagged , , , | Comments closed

Solutions That Work for the Environment and Economy are More Important Than Ever

We recently released a new video highlighting the results of our Gulf of Mexico Longline Gear Conversion Program, in which we helped nearly 50 boats convert to more environmentally friendly fishing gear in West Florida.

We launched the Longline Gear Conversion Program last year in response to regulations that shut down longline fishing, after the government found that the gear was “interacting” with too many sea turtles. The ban on this widely-used type of gear was devastating for many communities in West Florida.

Environmental Defense Fund believed there was a better way to keep fishermen on the water and sea turtles safe. Our program paid up to 50% of the costs for fishermen to covert to gear that was better for sea turtles and kept fishermen on the water. Many fishermen told us they wouldn’t have been able to make the gear change without our help.

This type of win-win solution is what EDF does best.

The 2010 BP oil disaster demonstrates that initiatives like this one, which help fishing communities and the environment, are more important than ever.

Posted in Gulf of Mexico| Also tagged , | Comments closed