Ocean Fisheries Problems

A man with his two sons in Ecuador's Galera-San Francisco Marine Reserve.November 21st is World Fisheries Day, an observance celebrated every year by fishing communities across the globe. CI’s Keith Lawrence recently met with residents of one Ecuadorian fishing community, where he saw firsthand the positive impact that broad conservation efforts are having on local livelihoods.

The huge body slaps back into the ocean with a thud, a forked tail flicks above the surface, and then she is gone. I’m here in Ecuador’s Galera-San Francisco Marine Reserve, in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape (ETPS), and I’ve just gotten a glimpse of one of the area’s largest residents: a humpback whale.

I’m here to meet with an inspiring, committed group of lobster fishermen, who are testing a new approach to manage the rich resources of coastal Ecuador. The local lobster population had all but vanished by 2010; 90% of lobsters caught were so young, they had not yet had the chance to reproduce and were below the legal minimum size allowed. CI and NAZCA, a local NGO, are now paying these fishermen to monitor the lobster population, providing income for four years. In return, the fishermen agree not to catch any lobsters during this period, giving the stock time to recover.

And our blubbery companion? Humpback whales aggregate off the Pacific coasts of Colombia and Ecuador to breed and give birth from July to September.Tuna fishing boat in Manta, Ecuador. Antarctic feeding grounds. Perhaps she just wanted one more day of playing in the tropical sun before heading to colder climes — I know I would!

She may also be encouraged to stay by the fact that the countries in the ETPS — Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia and Ecuador — have generally healthier oceans than many of the surrounding countries, as evidenced by the recently launched Ocean Health Index (see graph below).

The Index gives a score for 171 countries and territories around the world, based on 10 goals representing a variety of services that the oceans provide to humans, ranging from biodiversity to carbon storage to coastal livelihoods and economies.

While the Ocean Health Index measures the state of ocean health, taking into account the interconnected nature of these 10 goals, the seascapes approach implements effective, comprehensive solutions that seek to achieve these goals. The approach enables work at a range of scales, from individual communities to agreements between multiple nations.


RFF Press The Common Wealth in Ocean Fisheries: Some Problems of Growth and Economic Allocation (RFF Agriculture and Fisheries Set)
Book (RFF Press)

Environmentally conscientious fish shopping

2010-01-12 09:59:05 by BiscuitCity


• Go with the green!
Carry a seafood wallet card, a guide to which fish species get the "green light" as good choices. These cards are great references when buying seafood at grocery stores and restaurants, and are available for free from the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch Program.
• Good for you, good for your local economy.
Be a conscious consumer and try to buy local, environmentally responsible seafood as much as possible. This promotes sustainable management of marine resources, and preserves a way of life for progressive-minded farmers and fishermen in your region


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