EDF’s Fishing Game Highlighted on RARE Blog

Originally posted in Rare Dispatches, Author: J.M. McCord

Fishers in Loreto, Mexico, play Go Fish! with different-colored candy representing juvenile and adult fish

Ulises Mendez, Rare program manager in Mexico, waited for the cackles to subside before asking the fishers what they had learned. The fishers had just completed a candy-grabbing game designed to expose the benefits of good fishery management.

Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) first exposed Mendez to the game during a workshop a couple years ago. Many versions of the game exist involving a variety of props and customizations. The essential elements are:

1 A proxy for the ocean — “In our regional training we did the fishing game in a pool,” says Sarilani Wirawan, Rare senior program manager in Indonesia. “The more water, the more fun.” Typically, a table will do.

2 Fish stand-ins — any material available will suffice, ranging from rocks, peanuts and shells to goldfish cut-outs or action figures, but the most popular option is candy. Mendez used multi-colored candy to represent different types of fish such as juveniles and adults.

3 Some versions also include props for different fishing gear or plates for no-fishing areas. The specifics can be tweaked for relevance to a region’s laws and threats. Read More »

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EDF on FOX News: “Fish Smarter, Not Harder”

Kate Bonzon, Director of EDF’s Catch Share Design Center, recently appeared on the “Down to Earth” segment of KION Central Coast FOX News to discuss the serious issue of overfishing and the value of fishing smarter, not harder.

“The problem in the past is that regulations have actually worked against fishermen because their incentive was to go out and fish as much as they could, as fast as they could,” said Bonzon who leads our research on designing sustainable fishery management programs.

Bonzon was joined on the program by Joe Pennisi, a third generation West Coat fisherman who catches groundfish and David Crabbe, a Pacific Fishery Management Councilman and longtime commercial fisherman. Pennisi fishes smarter, not harder under a sustainable fishing program called catch shares. The West Coast catch share program gives him a secure privilege of the total catch and the ability to trade or sell their quota. And with this privilege, he has the time and flexibility needed to operate a more efficient and profitable business.

“If for some reason I have a break down, or maybe there is a lot of bad weather, I can trade some of my fish on the auction side, the other fishermen can buy it and they can trade with me,” explained Pennisi.

Watch the news program or visit our Catch Share Resources page to learn more about how these systems are restoring the world’s fisheries back to health.

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EDF on the Radio: The California Fisheries Fund Helps West Coast Fishermen

CFF Director, Phoebe Higgins with Steve Fitz, a loan recipient

Last week, Phoebe Higgins, Director of our California Fisheries Fund, appeared on the John Young KUIC Hometown Morning show to discuss the productive work the fund is doing to help West Coast fishermen finance their transition to more sustainable fishing practices, improve the profitability of their fishing businesses and provide seafood consumers with the fresh and sustainably caught fish that they love.

Phoebe also discussed with John a new sustainable management program that is helping fishermen on the West Coast grow their fishing operations as well as allowing fish populations to rebound.  The Fund coupled with the Pacific Groundfish catch share program, is helping to maintain and grow California’s highly-valued ocean economy —worth $43 billion and contributing more than 474,000 jobs to the state. Fishermen have more time to fish carefully which improves their safety and dramatically reduces the amount of bycatch and discarded fish. In turn, fishermen are able to bring in higher quality fish to seafood consumers and market their fish at higher prices.

Listen to Phoebe discuss the California Fisheries Fund project and catch share programs on the show and see how one fisherman is benefitting from his loan.

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Live Panel Discussion Today- “Using Market Mechanisms to Support Sustainable Fisheries Management

What makes so many fisheries collapse? Why are dozens bouncing back? Can self-interest improve open-access fishing? Where does a McDonald’s “Filet-of-Fish” come from? How much is a wild fish worth on the market? Do monopolies help or hurt? Which regulations improve outcomes? Is competition good or bad? And whose ocean is it, anyway?

These are tough questions. But today three individuals plan to answer them with compelling stories.

Seven years ago, the Kinship Conservation fellowship began combining the best aspects of markets and conservation, and brought these three strangers together from southern Africa, California and Maryland. At the time, each focused on wildly different challenges – respectively, dam impacts, coastal management, wildlife resources – and unique perspectives: for-profit, non-profit, and government.

But now EDF’s Jamie Workman, Kate Bonzon, and Assistant Secretary at the Department of Commerce for Conservation and Management,  Eric Schwaab, are reuniting on the same panel  to argue which, when, why, where, for whom and how well-managed catch shares have become the most effective form of management to restore depleted ocean fisheries.

Kinship equipped them with unconventional leadership ideas, approaches, tools, and relationships – a combination that has begun to pay off in unexpected ways.

Watch their live panel discussion today, “Using Market Mechanisms to Support Sustainable Fisheries Management” streaming live at 3:30 pm Pacific Time.

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Bridging the Gulf Report: Preparing for Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration in Cuba

Oil Rig, Photo Credit: Vidar Løkken

Reprinted with Permission from Center for Democracy in the Americas Center for Democracy in the Americas (September 7, 2012)

The following article was written by Dan Whittle, EDF’s Cuba Program Director for the Oceans Program, and featured on CenterforDemocracyInAmerica.org. In the article, Dan discusses our new report, Bridging the Gulf, which gives great insight into the roadblocks that existing U.S. foreign policy on Cuba has on making environmental protection progress. The article also dives into the constructive conversations the two countries have been having about ways to improve communications and policy keeping the best interest of the environment in mind.

The Environmental Defense Fund recently released a report called Bridging the Gulf, in which we concluded that “current U.S. foreign policy on Cuba creates a conspicuous blind spot” that is detrimental to the interests of both countries.  A failure to cooperate on oil spill planning, prevention, and response in the Gulf of Mexico could result in devastating environmental and economic impacts on a scale greater than the 2010 BP oil disaster.

Recently, I witnessed a potential bright spot in US-Cuba relations that could lead to real and meaningful cooperation in protecting Cuban and American shores from future oil spills. Read More »

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EDF Recognizes World Oceans Day

Rahel Marsie-Hazen, Howard University Fellow

Today, June 8, 2012 marks the fourth World Oceans Day.  The United Nations established this special day both to celebrate and pay tribute to the mighty body of water that covers 71% of the Earth’s surface and contains 97% of the planet’s water. The world’s oceans generate most of the oxygen we breathe, regulate our climate, clean the water we drink and house potential medicines for illnesses.

Let’s not forget that our oceans also provide us with seafood, which plays an integral role in the food security of billions of people worldwide. Small and large communities in many regions of the world depend on fish as a primary source of protein. For many, it provides an invaluable supplement for diversified and healthy diets. Our oceans also support the fishing industry, which provides an important means of income for millions of people and their families.

Our oceans do a great deal for us and on this day we must recognize that they are in serious trouble. According to the 2010 State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture report, more than 80% of global fisheries are fully or over exploited. But the tide is turning in American fisheries. Fisheries management reform and best practices are nursing these fisheries back to health—rebounding fish stocks, returning job stability and providing consumers with fresh and sustainably caught seafood. And this is definitely excellent news to celebrate. Happy World Oceans Day.

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