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Comments to the Presidential Task for on IUU Fishing and Seafood Fraud

January 26, 2015

For those who are interested, several of my colleagues at MSU – Mark Axelrod, John Spink, and Meredith Gore – and I put together a comment document that we submitted to the Presidential Task Force on IUU Fishing and Seafood Fraud. This was in relation to the Task Force’s request for comments on how best to implement its recent recommendations on IUU fishing and seafood fraud.

The document you can read above. In general, the advice related to how to build state-capacity in the developing world to reduce illegal fishing and to improve the U.S.’s trade sanction system for countries engaging in illegal fishing.

World Parks Congress: 30% no-take MPA coverage worldwide

January 19, 2015
Only 2.1% of the world’s oceans are protected in marine protected areas, and globally only 0.8% are protected strongly in no-take marine reserves

Only 2.1% of the world’s oceans are protected in marine protected areas, and globally only 0.8% are protected strongly in no-take marine reserves. From MPAtlas.

I’m catching up on my reading of the November/December issue of MPA News, a newsletter that I highly recommend. The big headline is what’s being called “The Promise of Sydney”, which among other things, calls for 30% of the ocean to be protected under no-take marine reserves.

MPA News provides some context to this ambitious call:

The goal of 30% no-take coverage amounts to a rebuke of the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Aichi Target 11, which was set in 2010. Aichi Target 11 calls for just 10% of marine areas to be conserved in MPAs or other effective area-based conservation measures by 2020. Under that target, the MPAs also don’t need to be no-take (MPA News 12:3). The WPC’s 30% no-take goal is ambitious. Current no-take coverage still amounts to less than 1% of the world ocean. (Notably the Promise of Sydney sets no deadline for meeting the 30% target.)  That being said, it reinforces a goal set at the last World Parks Congress, held in 2003 in Durban, South Africa, where participants recommended that 20-30% of the world’s oceans be placed in no-take areas. (In Sydney, the 30% no-take figure was somewhat of a midway point between Aichi Target 11, on the low end of MPA coverage goals, and calls for “Nature Needs Half” on the high end. The latter is a campaign among several conservation NGOs to protect at least half of the world ecosystem as wild nature space —

I find this a fascinating idea, but struggle to imagine the technological and budgetary shifts that would need to occur to ensure that such large areas are truly protected.

Prison Labor in Thai Fisheries

January 16, 2015

16b327bAlberto Romero-Bermo, Director of Fisheries & Sustainability at Lumar Seafood International, has put up a really nice blog on LinkedIn. It covers the Thai government’s decision to pilot the use of prison labor to solve its slave labor problem. Alberto points out that this is quite likely no better, and suggests that seafood companies should avoid buying prison labor-supported fisheries products.

Read more…

Salvaging the Global Fishing Watch Project

January 16, 2015

There’s a very good blog by Trevor Downing up at WWF-UK on the weaknesses of Google’s big data project, Global Fishing Watch Project, as a way to combat illegal fishing. Here are a few key excerpts.

Very limited AIS deployment without an enforcement regime:

The global context of the project is flawed, perhaps more so than has been noted to date. There are no multilateral governance measures in force for AIS on fishing vessels, not even on the larger size ranges of 300GT and above where AIS is mandated on cargo vessels. The application of the AIS requirements in Regulation 19 of SOLAS Chapter V to fishing vessels is entirely at the behest of the flag state. This also means that none of the global enforcement frameworks for AIS, such as Port State Control, currently exists for fishing vessels. The IMO is unlikely to visit the subject of AIS on fishing vessels until the Cape Town Agreement enters into force.

Read more…

Counter-Productive Illegal Fishing Policies?

January 14, 2015

There’s a good article out today at The Guardian on Indonesia’s recently imposed policies to stop illegal fishing in its waters. I’ve been following this with some fascination after the Indonesian Navy rather dramatically blew up two illegal fishing vessels (great photos at the link).

Read more…

China’s Role in Global Fisheries Sustainability

January 14, 2015
Estimated potential of fishmeal and oil production from China’s fish-processing industry.

Estimated potential of fishmeal and oil production from China’s fish-processing industry. From here.

Thanks to World Fishing & Aquaculture for highlighting a new article in Science on the impact China has on global fisheries.

Here are a couple good quotes from the article:

Read more…

“I am here, and there are the Earth and the Sun”

January 12, 2015
Aruba Sunrise by Rick Seidel

Aruba Sunrise by Rick Seidel

I am catching up on some reading and I see the December 2014-January 2015 issue of the Marine Ecosystems and Management (MEAM) newsletter shares the New Year’s resolutions and wishes of some of the vanguard of the marine conservation movement. I some great professional thinking, but the real gem comes from Wen Bo, a Pew Fellow and the Policy and Media Advisor with the Global Exploration Fund-China at National Geographic.

For his wish/resolution, he beautifully wrote:

If my office or residence happens to be along the coast, I would watch the sunset every now and then, as well as take photos and put them up on the wall and share via social media. If waking up early enough, I would go to see the sunrise by sea at least once a month. Doing this, I would not be too different from astronauts orbiting around the Earth, who can say, ‘I am here, and there are the Earth and the Sun.’ The moments of seeing sunrise and sunset are the moments when we can reflect on our planetary dwelling. It helps remind us of the ocean planet and, as conservationists, how vital and unique our efforts have been. It is one of the greatest jobs on Earth to ensure our healthy planet through time and space.


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