Selected tag(s): Environmental Defense Fund

To solve our food problems, we must look to the oceans

By Christopher Free and Willow Battista

Earlier this spring, 1.5 million livestock died in the Horn of Africa. The immediate culprit was a severe, prolonged drought spurred by the growing effects of climate change. It’s a sign of weakening food systems in a warming world. But while land-based food systems are carbon-intensive and increasingly unstable, research shows aquatic food presents real, tangible opportunities to feed more people with fewer climate impacts and a clear message: to solve our food problems, we must look to the oceans. Read More »

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Inclusivity & Aquaculture: An interview with Imani Black

A sustainable aquaculture industry in the United States has the potential to provide both environmental and economic benefits — and EDF is committed to supporting legislation that prioritizes strong regulations while supporting the industry’s efforts to make sure those benefits are felt broadly. That’s why EDF connected with Imani Black, founder of Minorities in Aquaculture, or MIA, to understand how we can foster more diversity and inclusivity in the traditionally white, male aquaculture industry. Read our conversation below to learn why Imani founded MIA, her prescriptions for a growing industry and why she believes the work she loves can give everyone an equal opportunity to thrive. Read More »

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Indonesia-Philippines learning exchange: International collaboration for fisheries management

Effective fisheries management is critical to food security, livelihoods for millions of people and vibrant marine life and biodiversity. By empowering communities to sustainably manage marine resources, we can build resilience to climate change, secure healthy oceans and better protect communities that are vulnerable to extreme weather events. This is especially true in the Philippines, where science-based and participatory fisheries management is still in its infancy. Read More »

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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.

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Sportfishing, Conservation Groups Suggest Oil Spill Spending Priorities for Administration and Congress

Thirteen groups signed letters today to both the Administration and Congressional Appropriators in response to the British Petroleum oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  The letters present fishery management and economic-related recommendations for broadening the scope of and increasing the amount of funding in the spending package proposed on May 12 by President Obama.

The groups’ recommendations cover fishery management, including stock assessments, improvements to fishery data collection and monitoring, and cooperative research, so that fishery managers will have the most accurate and timely information to assess the impacts of the spill. The groups also recommend direct economic relief for recreational fishing businesses and other fishing-related businesses.

Sign-on letter participants:

  • American Sportfishing Association
  • Berkley Conservation Institute
  • The Billfish Foundation
  • Bonefish and Tarpon Trust
  • Center for Coastal Conservation
  • Coastal Conservation Association
  • Environmental Defense Fund
  • International Game Fish Association
  • National Marine Manufacturers Association
  • Natural Resources Defense Council
  • The Ocean Conservancy
  • Oceana
  • Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership

EDF made a complementary request to Congress and the President earlier this week for at least $100 million to help fishing communities recover from the spill.

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EDF Wants to Get It Right: Helping Fishermen and the Fishing Industry

I believe in US fishermen and our fisheries.  My brother and uncle both worked in fish houses and on fishing docks.  I have sorted fish alongside NOAA fish scientists on research cruises in the Gulf of Maine.  Even now, a great afternoon for me is talking with fishermen – maybe about fishing but about everyday stuff, too. 

Here’s one thing I also believe: Fishermen get a rough deal from nearly every quarter.  I’ve watched them struggle with ups and downs in the economy, with regulations that aren’t working and with public opinion that casts them as the bad guys in stories about ocean declines.  All the guff fishermen take is as big a pile of crap as the notion that I am interested in some kind of sell-off of New England fisheries.

There is a story being circulated in the Gloucester Times that is playing on – and distorting – very real concerns, concerns that I share, about the recession and unethical financial dealings.  Although the allegations about EDF are not true, we strongly share the author’s core concern: What’s the best way to evolve from today’s declining fisheries to ones that have lots of fish and jobs? 

One thing we’re going to need, for sure, is money.  From the fishermen’s point of view, where’s the best place to get that money?  One option is government. Some places, like New England, are blessed with powerful senators who can bring home the bacon.  Others aren’t so lucky.  In any event, government money always comes with strings.  Banks are another option.  But is there anyone out there who believes fishermen are getting the best possible deal from the government or the banks?  Fishermen tell us they’d welcome more choices because more choices mean a better deal. 

That is why we at EDF are working with fishermen to help them establish their own funds to purchase quota.  That is why we’ve set up the California Fisheries Fund to make loans to fishermen that banks won’t make.  That is why we help advise the Sea Change Investment Fund that directly invests in building markets for sustainably caught fish to benefit fishermen.  That is also why I will talk to anyone, anytime – including investors at the Milken Institute – about the incredible opportunity there is to work with fishermen to restore both fisheries and fishermen’s livelihood.

What I’m out there telling the wider financial community is that fishermen are good business partners.  Alerting new communities of investors to the risks and potential profits of catch share fisheries increases the number of options fishermen have for the financing they are going to need to evolve their fisheries.  And, obviously, the more options fishermen have, the better deal they will be able to negotiate within the bounds of the rules set up for each fishery.  Defining these fishery-specific rules well is important.  They can include such things as accumulation caps, owner on board, fishery association by-laws or whatever else is appropriate for each fishery. 

If you hear something that strikes you as wrong here, let me know.  EDF wants to get it right when it comes to helping fishermen and the industry.  I want to get it right.  If you have ideas about better things to try than simply more of the same that hasn’t worked over the past decades, please let us at EDF know.  Our minds are wide open.  There is room for improvement everywhere – including ideas EDF puts forward.

A lot needs to change (regulations, enforcement, financing, and marketing) to bring back our fishing communities.  Working together and pulling in the same direction, we can do it. 

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