The largest natural resource on our planet, the ocean, is in serious danger of being depleted of some of its stock, which could have a major impact on those who depend on seafood and other products from the sea for food and for their livelihood.
“Overfishing is one of the most urgent problems facing the ocean today and is the single biggest cause of depleted fisheries worldwide. It affects the 3 billion people who rely on seafood as a source of protein and millions more that rely on healthy fisheries for their livelihoods. It harms biodiversity and fish abundance and reduces ecosystem productivity and resilience. And poor fisheries management costs the world’s fisheries $50 billion annually.” – EDF Catch Share
In response to this pressing issue, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) has released a sustainable fisheries toolkit (said to be “the world’s most comprehensive collection of research-driven materials on improving fisheries management”) that can help to guide the use of our ocean resources toward a more sustainable future.
The toolkit centers around an idea called a “Catch Share”:
“Similar to dividing a pie, a catch share program allocates a secure area or privilege to harvest a share of a fishery’s total catch to an individual or group. Programs establish appropriate controls on fishing mortality and hold participants accountable. Catch shares can be administered as quota-based or area-based programs.” – EDF
“Fishermen embracing catch shares report greater economic stability, higher earnings, and a chance to build more successful fishing businesses. After years of poverty, delayed repairs, and scraping by in old-style “derby” fisheries, vessel owners who have switched to individual quotas see more stable harvests and access to profitable new markets. Their quota provides collateral for loans. Stronger prices and predictable earnings allow more investment, upgrading, and repairs. For the first time, many see themselves building businesses worth passing down to children or selling when they choose to retire.” – National Fisheries Conservation Center
You can download the complete fisheries toolkit or individual Catch share design manuals from Catch Share, or learn more about the issues by playing the “What’s the Catch?” fishing game.
[h/t to Sustainable Brands]