Photo credit: Hamilton Project
The fishing industry contributes about $90 billion annually to the U.S. economy, which translates to over one and a half million jobs for American workers.
Sustainably managed fisheries have a higher economic value to fishing dependent communities, than those under unsustainable management. Understanding this fact is of paramount importance to ensuring a sustainable and thriving future for both fishermen and fish in the U.S. and globally.
Our work at EDF Oceans is focused on aligning the economic and environmental incentives for fishermen to ensure a sustainable fishing future and we believe that catch shares are an essential tool to achieving this goal.
I was honored to participate in a panel hosted by the Brookings Institute and the Hamilton Project that featured a thoughtful discussion on how to improve the economic prosperity and long-term sustainability of the U.S. fishing industry. To frame the discussion, the Hamilton Project released an economic overview of the U.S. fishing industry, and panelists reviewed and discussed a new paper by economist Christopher Costello of U.C. Santa Barbara which calls for a getting fishermen the socio-economic data they need before making game-changing decisions about management of their fisheries. Read More
Bruce Babbitt (Source: DOI) and Slade Gorton III (Source: US Senate)
On September 12 and 13, EDF had the pleasure of working with an unlikely but dynamic team of spokespeople. Former Secretary Bruce Babbitt, former Senator Slade Gorton III and Gulf Red Snapper Fisherman Buddy Guindon, met in Washington DC to share their support for catch share management systems with members of the press and the hill. Their message—Catch shares work, the world’s fisheries are in trouble and both democrats and republicans have a responsibility to protect fish stocks and fishermen moving forward.
Gorton and Babbitt, who admit they have not always agreed on issues in the past, have come together on fisheries management because they see catch shares as the way forward for sustainable and profitable fisheries. They believe that a lot of the opposition around catch shares stems from a lack of understanding and education.
In an interview with E & E reporter Laura Petersen, who wrote an excellent piece on this media tour, Gorton commented, "Maybe 30 or 40 members of the House of Representatives out of 435 have any knowledge of the issue at all, so it's easy, in a sense, to stampede them with sloganeering."
Babbitt agreed and added, “Fear of change is nothing new in resource management. The political culture is very resistant to change, and that is why education is so critical to assuage concerns and consolidate support.”
Watch an interview from this tour from E&E TV with Bruce and Slade.