Selected tag(s): Overfishing

New report outlines causes of ocean decline and proposal for recovery


A new report by an independent global organization lays out an eight-point plan to reverse ocean decline and advance recovery of the high seas.

The Global Ocean Commission (GOC), an independent organization of prominent leaders from around the globe formed to develop feasible solutions for key challenges facing the high seas, yesterday issued its final report, “From Decline to Recovery: A Rescue Package for the Global Ocean.” It outlines five drivers of ocean decline and an eight-part proposal to recover the high seas, an area of our oceans outside the jurisdiction of individual countries.

EDF applauds the commission for bringing high-level international attention to the important role oceans play in sustaining life on the planet, and we are pleased to see the optimism and solution-focus of the report.  The commission’s call to action must be heeded; recovery of the ocean is both possible and imperative to sustaining life on earth. Read More »

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World Oceans Day: All eyes on oceans in June 2014


Photo Credit: Carlos Aguilera

Photo Credit: Carlos Aguilera

World Oceans Day is an annual reminder that the oceans are our planet’s greatest natural resource and that we must take actions to protect them. The livelihoods of millions of people around the world depend on healthy oceans, yet they face threats including overfishing, acidification and marine pollution.

Fortunately, all eyes will be on the oceans this June through a series of international events designed to raise awareness, inspire positive policies and spark conversations between local governments, fishermen and conservationists about how to build a brighter future. Here are a few events to watch: 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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EDF Agrees with 8 New England Senators, We Should Focus on Refinements to Enhance the Groundfish Sector Management Program

Emilie Litsinger, EDF Oceans NE Groundfish Project Manager

Emilie Litsinger, EDF Oceans NE Groundfish Project Manager

This week senators from Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island sent a letter to Eric Schwaab, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, proposing several refinements to enhance the New England groundfish sector management program.  EDF agrees that we need to be adaptive and sectors – as with all fisheries management tools — need to be refined as experience is gathered and evaluated.  With more than a year of operation under sectors now complete, results of the program’s performance show signs of progress that the fishery has started to turn the corner to a more ecologically and economically stable fishery.

EDF agrees with the senators and is very focused on improving the at-sea monitoring program so that is more reliable, comprehensive, and cost effective.  At-sea monitoring costs need to be reduced and the use and electronic monitoring systems need to be approved.  EDF commissioned Northern Economics Inc to conduct an independent 3rd party review of the current sector monitoring program to compare the program with similar programs on the Pacific Coast and in Alaska to make recommendations for improving the design and reducing the costs of the program.  Read More »

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SeafoodNews.com Notes Well Documented Safety Benefits of Bering Sea Crab Rationalization

Heated arguments over fishing policy are nothing new, but evaluating them is harder when they’re based on incorrect information.  A recent assertion that safety had not improved under the Alaska crab catch share program badly mischaracterizes the record.  While that program is not perfect, safety has improved dramatically.  This was the focus of the article below.

By John Sackton – Reprinted with permission from SeafoodNews.com

One of the claims made in Food and Water Watch’s paper attacking catch share programs is that the safety benefit claimed for such programs is illusory.

Unfortunately for them, there is ample documentation and factual testimony to contradict that assertion.

One of the most dramatic results of the Bering Sea crab rationalization program has been a continued improvement in crab fishing vessel safety, which the Coast Guard says could not have been achieved through other methods.

For example, in the five year review of the crab program, completed in Oct of 2010, Jennifer Lincoln of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and Coast Commander Christopher J. Woodley jointly wrote:

‘The BSAI CR program has clearly demonstrated the ability to improve safety by making foundational changes which increase fishing time, reduce an emphasis on catching power, allow large, more efficient and safer vessels to remain in the fishery, and improve crew experience. These are areas that are typically difficult to control through Coast Guard safety regulations.’

In their paper, Food and Water Watch quotes some crew members from the Bering Sea Crab fishery saying ‘These fishermen generally do not consider the fishery to be any safer, since
owners only hire a minimum number of crew members and have deadlines to meet for processors.’

One crew member said: ‘They say it was for security purposes but people still die
every year. The only difference is that there are fewer boats now, so there are less people getting hurt. But they’re doing the same work.’

This statement is simply factually untrue. According to the Coast Guard, between 2005 and 2010, there was only a single fatality in the Bering Sea crab fishery. This death was the result of a man overboard. People do not die every year.

In the previous five years prior to rationalization, there were 8 deaths, and in the period from 1995 to 2000, there were 22 deaths.

In fact, during the 1990’s, the Bering sea crab fishery had an ‘astronomical fatality rate of 770 fatalities per 100,000 full time fishermen’, said the Coast Guard.

Read More »

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EDF Partners with National Geographic on “I Am The Ocean” Campaign

Help Protect the Ocean. Join I Am The Ocean today.Last week, National Geographic launched the campaign “I Am The Ocean“, also referred to as Mission Blue. This effort in partnership with several environmental organizations, including EDF, sends out a global call to action to raise public awareness, start conversations, and inspire people to help protect the ocean.

One billion people worldwide depend on fish and shellfish for their protein. The ocean is key to sustaining life on the planet — from the air we breathe to the water we drink, so it is critical for us to protect it.

Through this action-oriented marine conservation initiative, you can participate by making the right seafood choices, volunteering for costal clean-up, and learning about 10 other things you can do to save the ocean. In addition, you can even purchase a bottle of “I Am the Ocean” wine and $4 will be donated to promote marine protected areas and reduce overfishing. Join “I Am The Ocean” today.

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