The EDF Annual Meeting: More Fish, Better Fish, Higher Profitability, Healthier OceansJanuary 25th, 2016
This week I had the honor of attending the annual meeting of the Environmental Defense Fund-Mexico which they held this year in Mexico City, Mexico. EDF’s annual “Encuentro” brings together thought leaders in sustainable fisheries to discuss and plan a way forward for sustainable oceans. We attend these meetings because the Alliance continues to seek out relationships and ways to work with nonprofit organizations like EDF to further our sustainability mission.
As responsible fishers, we acknowledge and know that many of the world’s fisheries are too pressured. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), around the world nearly 9 out of 10 fisheries are fully or over-exploited. That means we need to find joint solutions for management to ensure that pressured fisheries recover – and that healthy fisheries, like yellowfin and skipjack, continue to thrive.
One of the Alliance’s key values is to ground all of our management decisions in science. In addition to key fisheries scientists specializing in tuna in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, we look to science-based groups like EDF and Sustainable Fisheries Partnership to provide smart science and management recommendations to ensure healthy oceans.
At the Encuentro this week, there was a great deal of focus placed on an interesting fishing model called “Rights Based Management” (RBM) which EDF is promoting in small and large fisheries around Mexico. EDF is seeing a good deal of success for their work in curvina. RBM is a very interesting model that allocates shares of ‘fishing rights’ in attempts to control the overall catch of a certain species. Here is how it is defined at EDF’s Fishery Solutions Center:
Similar to dividing a pie, rights-based management or fishing rights, also known as “catch share programs,” allocates access to a fishing area or a share of a fishery’s total allowable catch to a group or an individual. Programs establish appropriate controls on fishing mortality and hold participants accountable to their limits.
You can read more about RBM and EDF’s work here: http://fisherysolutionscenter.edf.org/rbm-basics
RBM is an interesting management approach and we look forward to seeing how their work develops further in Mexico.
In addition to RBM, the EDF meeting allowed the participants to share the experiences of different fisheries, in order to jointly find alternatives to promote more efficient, sustainable and profitable fisheries. One of the main objectives of the Encuentro was also to understand the advantages that sustainable fisheries management can have along the value chain – finding ways to deliver a business and environment win: better quality fish and better economic opportunities.
Attendees included foundation executives, fisheries scientists, government representatives, and nonprofit experts. As always, we were pleased to see Mexico taking a leadership role in sustainable fisheries by ensuring that CONAPESCA and INAPESCA were well represented.
Our fishery is regulated by the Interamerican Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) – a body with 23 member nations that sets all rules for the oceans where we fish – that manages the populations of tuna in our fishery with sophisticated scientific approaches that consider the complex nature of a global shared fishery. We look forward to the recommendations EDF Mexico might have for the IATTC and for tuna fisheries fishing in the EPO.
Stay tuned for a big update coming next month about the MSC evaluation process which you can always track by visiting MSC’s site: http://www.msc.org/track-a-fishery/have-your-say.
Mariana Ramos, Executive Director