Selected tag(s): Jane Lubchenco

First U.S. Envoy for the Ocean: welcome news for fisheries worldwide

Photo credit: Carlos Aguilera

Photo credit: Carlos Aguilera

In an inspired and welcome choice, the Department of State just named Jane Lubchenco as the first U.S. Science Envoy for the Ocean.

The move reflects both the growing priority of oceans in the Obama Administration and the kind of collaborative approach it takes to restore jobs, communities and biodiversity worldwide.

This huge step comes just in time.

Globally, 40 percent of fisheries are in deep trouble with overfishing being the single biggest cause. Yet, Jane has shown how we can replenish life in the oceans through smart approaches that include better science, more marine protected areas, and stewardship incentives for fishermen. Read More »

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Selecting Sustainable Seafood: The Challenge for Consumers

Diane Regas is Associate Vice President for EDFMaking sustainable seafood choices at the fish counter and at restaurants are daunting tasks for most people, even for experts such as New York Times food writer and cookbook author Mark Bittman. In his recent article, Bittman acknowledges the challenge of being a seafood consumer interested in both taste and environmental ethics.

“The buying has become a logistical and ethical nightmare,” Bittman states.

I’m glad that Bittman refuses to give up either eating fish or factoring sustainability into what he buys.  He tries to keep his selection of sustainable seafood simple with a few rules of thumb focused on staying away from the most troubled fish stocks.

When we all demand sustainable seafood, I think it will help support some of the tough decisions that need to be made to get the oceans healthy again.  Scientists tell us that the two best solutions are protecting the sensitive places in the ocean and managing the fish we catch properly through catch shares fishery management.

It is absolutely amazing that all the fisheries in the world are either fully fished at capacity or have been fished to collapse.  Yet strong evidence published in the journals Science and Nature show that catch shares end, prevent and even reverse the collapse of fisheries. In addition to ending overfishing and rebuilding fish stocks, well designed catch shares provide economic stability for fishermen and fishing communities.

Fortunately for the environment, fishermen and consumers alike, support for catch shares management continues to gain momentum and is being considered in all coastal regions of the country. The new NOAA administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco is demonstrating unprecedented support for studying, implementing, and funding catch shares management. Just yesterday the House of Representatives appropriations committee included a big increase in the budget to make catch shares happen.

With continued support from fishermen and even consumers, this momentum and support for catch shares can lead to a new era for fisheries management that protects our oceans and make eating seafood all the more enjoyable.

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New National Fishing Policy Announced Today Focused on Catch Shares

Diane Regas is Associate Vice President for EDF’s Oceans program. 

Diane Regas, Associate Vice President - EDF Oceans ProgramThe top government official for the nation’s fisheries today took a giant step in the right direction for the U.S. fishing industry and the oceans.  At a speech in Boston, Dr. Jane Lubchenco, the administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced that she was creating a task force to develop a new policy on catch shares to ensure that they are fully considered when fishery management councils amend management plans. 

Recent scientific studies have shown that catch shares perform dramatically better than conventionally-managed fisheries.  The bottom line is that the new policy is likely to dramatically increase the number of fisheries managed by catch shares and that’s great news for the oceans and fishermen.

In her speech, Dr. Lubchenco said that NOAA would move “forward to implement more catch share programs” and that “all of the (fishery management) councils will see increases in their allocations in the 2010 (budget) request” for catch shares.  She also announced a new task force to develop a nation-wide catch share strategy.

Here’s the full text of Dr. Lubchenco’s speech this morning:

Comments by Dr. Jane Lubchenco at the Council Coordination Committee Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts – Tuesday, May 19, 2009.

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New England Fishery Management Council Member Supports Catch Shares

Julie Wormser, NE Regional Director of EDF Oceans ProgramBy Julie Wormser, New England Regional Director – Environmental Defense Fund Oceans Program.

I want to share Dave Preble’s terrific op-ed that was just published in the New Bedford Standard-Times, Prosperity for New England Fishermen.  He wrote it just as groundfish fishermen in New England are preparing to fish under “sectors,” a fishing cooperative based form of catch shares. 
I first met Dave at a New England Fishery Management Council meeting last summer.  He sits on the Council and is one of the most thoughtful voices on that body.  Born into a fishing family, Dave has been involved in both commercial and recreational fishing and fishery management for over 45 years.  He has taught me quite a lot about how public policy decisions affect both fish and the fishing communities that depend on them.

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A Turning Point for New England Groundfish Fishery: Jane Lubchenco sends a clear message

Julie Wormser, New England Regional Director for the Environmental Defense Fund oceans program, writes about her attendance and NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco’s presence at the New England Fishery Management Council meeting on April 8th.

April 8, 2009, Mystic, CT —Sally McGee, Emilie Litsinger and I got to witness something pretty wonderful today.  Jane Lubchenco came to the New England Fishery Management Council meeting to announce the immediate release of $16 million to the groundfish fishery to help move the fishery to “sector” catch share management by providing funding for cooperative research to help fishermen get through a tough fishing year with very strict limits on fishing effort. 

This came on the heels of Monday’s announcement of a final Interim Rule for groundfish that was a significant improvement both over the draft rule and a threatened legislative alternative introduced by some members of the New England congressional delegation. 

The meeting started at 8:30 am, with the room unusually full for that early hour.  The previous days had been crackling with speculation around the region about the reason for her visit. After brief introductions, Dr. Lubchenco thanked everyone for allowing her the time to speak to them. She described the main components of the new fishing rules and then said that she came to the council meeting with two clear messages. 

First, that NOAA would commit $16 million this year toward a new future for New England’s fisheries (in this case, groundfish, but also more broadly).  Second, she put the room on notice—Council members, agency staff, industry and other stakeholders—that we all needed to step up and move away from crisis management toward a lasting solution—catch shares.

“We need a rapid transition to sectors and catch shares,” she explained.  “Catch shares are a powerful tool to getting to sustainable fisheries and profitability.  I challenge you to deliver on this in Amendment 16, to include measures to end overfishing.  I will commit the resources to my staff to do their part to ensure Amendment 16 is passed in June.

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