Monthly Archives: June 2012

From Bloomberg: “Teach an Industry to Fish and Maybe it will Survive”

Boats in Chatham, MA

Fishing Boats in Chatham, MA
Photo by John Rae

On EDFish, we’re often discussing the virtues of catch shares and the progress we’re making working with fishermen to achieve sustainable fisheries.  It’s nice to see others take notice of the importance of rebuilding American fisheries and making sure their not only sustainable, but economically viable.

This week, catch shares got some attention from the editors at Bloomberg.  In their editorial, “Teach an Industry to Fish and Maybe it will Survive”  catch shares were held up as the “best alternative” to managing our fisheries in a way that’s fair to fishermen and ensure sustainability.  They affirm that carefully designed catch shares deserve more attention and widespread implementation. Read More »

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On the RESTORE Act, Two Steps Forward, One Meaningless Gesture Back

Snapper boats dockedLast night the House and Senate agreed to compromise language on a broad set of initiatives referred to as the transportation bill.  Included in this “must-pass” bill is legislation dealing with the Gulf of Mexico oil spill known as the RESTORE Act.  There is much to applaud in this bill; for example, it provides important funding for fisheries science and research.  It’s too bad it also contains an empty political gesture against a fishery management tool that has benefitted the Gulf’s fishermen.

The RESTORE Act directs the penalties received by the federal government as a result of the Deepwater Horizon disaster to the affected region, including, at Senator Nelson’s particular insistence, providing funding for research to “support . . . the long-term sustainability of the ecosystem, fish stocks, fish habitat, and the recreational, commercial, and charter fishing industry in the Gulf of Mexico.”  At a time of scarce funds and great need, this effort will help the marine resources and fishermen of the Gulf recover from the blow they suffered two years ago.

Unfortunately, the bill also contains a gratuitous slap at the region’s fishermen by prohibiting the use of the funds provided in the bill for the development or approval of new catch share programs along the east coast or the Gulf of Mexico.  The catch share language echoes an amendment previously offered by Rep. Steve Southerland (R-FL) – but here it means absolutely nothing given a separate prohibition on using the money for any form of fisheries regulation. Read More »

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New Study Shows Improved Compliance under Catch Shares for Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish

Gulf of Mexico Red SnapperUnder catch shares, fishermen have a strong incentive to become stewards of their fishery because they benefit directly from conservation practices, better monitoring, and improving information about stock conditions. A new study also confirms there is a positive change in incentives towards better compliance under catch shares management.

Last week, Marine Policy released a study by the Environmental Law Institute (ELI) analyzing the relationship of enforcement and compliance behavior in the Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) program, a catch share program implemented in 2007. The goal of the study was to better understand how catch shares management affects enforcement and compliance behavior. Enforcement records and fishermen surveys were used to compare enforcement practices and cases of noncompliance five years before and after IFQ implementation. Read More »

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World Bank’s Global Partnership for Oceans Announced at Rio +20 Earth Summit

Reef and fish, Cuba

There are many challenges facing our planet’s oceans which have not been addressed to date by any single group of citizens, lawmakers, fishermen or world leaders. Fortunately, hope can be seen in the Global Partnership for Oceans (GPO), a growing alliance of “governments, international organizations, civil society groups, and private sector interests that will mobilize knowledge and financial resources to address threats to ocean health, resilience and productivity.” This partnership, announced in February, has garnered the support of over 80 signatories so far and represents a bold and courageous front to save the oceans and preserve their social, biological and economic benefits for generations to come.

A declaration was released today by the GPO stating its objectives for achieving its international commitments for healthy and productive oceans. Read More »

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EDF Oceans Program Mourns the Passing of Elinor Ostrom, Influential Economist and Nobel Prize Winner

It is with great sadness that EDF’s Oceans program mourns the loss of Elinor Ostrom, a Nobel Prize-winning economist who led groundbreaking research to better understand the “tragedy of the commons,” or the idea that shared public resources such as forests and fisheries will be depleted without proper regulatory controls.

Dr. Ostrom challenged the idea that regulations had to be federally mandated or ‘top-down,’ instead advocating for grassroots solutions and local engagement to address increased pressures on our resources.  Her research has been a foundation for EDF’s work on important issues such as Catch Shares, where direct involvement by local fisherman and stakeholders in fisheries management decision-making is critical to secure fishing jobs and strengthening fish populations.   We can attribute the switch from “command-and-control” style management of our fisheries here in the U.S., to a new, more decentralized and inclusive system, directly to Dr. Ostrom.

Her many accomplishments, insights and breakthroughs as the first woman in history to win the Nobel Prize in economics have impacted the work of our leadership and Oceans programs.  We owe Dr. Ostrom a debt of gratitude and will honor her work by continuing to foster local engagement in environmental and resource management issues around the world.

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Our National Marine Sanctuaries Are Ready For Anglers

Kids fishing on the seawall as a part of the "Hook Kids On Fishing Event" at the kickoff.

Kids fishing on the seawall as a part of the “Hook Kids On Fishing Event” at the kickoff.

Navigating the rules of recreational fishing can be difficult sometimes; and most anglers strive to be responsible stewards of the ocean’s resource.  That’s why many have avoided fishing our national marine sanctuaries.

As it turns out, fishing is allowed in the majority of our nation’s marine sanctuaries along with diving, surfing and other recreational activities.  In fact, anglers can fish in 98% of the designated sanctuaries along our coastlines.

Environmental Defense Fund believes that the best environmental policies find a way, when possible, to protect important resources while maintaining access for individuals or businesses.  Our National Marine Sanctuaries are great examples of that, and that’s why we are a proud sponsor of the National Marine Sanctuary Classic.

The Classic is a free summer-long fishing and photo contest taking place in four National Marine Sanctuaries: Channel Islands and Monterey Bay, CA on the west coast and the Florida Key, FL and Gray’s Reef, GA on the east coast. Read More »

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