Blog Post

Sampling the Sea: Talking Sustainability

Sustainable Fisheries Group.  Environmental Defense, UCSB and The Nature Conservancy. Funded by Paul. G. Allen Family Foundation.

Main concept: Rights-based ownership helps management effort. Research results: the fisheries that have catch-share practices were more sustainable. The national priority in the US now (with NOAA support) is to use catch-shares. (Influential article in Science Magazine).

Example:  Morro Bay. TNC was buying up trawlers. (The trawling was harmful to the environment.) The Group worked on revising management processes. They created a loan fund to help transition boats away from harmful practices.

Example: The Gulf of Mexico. Shrimp nets are catching and killing a type of dolphin. Solution space: Is there a better way to catch shrimp?

There is an interplay between Marine Protected Areas (existing and proposed) and the fishing economy.

The problems of labeling fish: What the markets say the fish is is not always correct. Labeling for sustainability is a real issue.

A database on 10-11,000 fisheries was created for the research. We should check with NCEAS (Chris Costello).

Monterrey Bay Aquarium: Fishermen get annoyed when they get red-listed. So they sometimes prove that they are not that endangered. So the regional database is updated every 3 months.

There are several ways to assess sustainability. Which are the ways that are most important to StS?

We can look at the basic data for fish populations, and data on catch-shares.

Catch-shares are fixed resources with quotas. In the fisheries community, one trick is to keep a single interest from collecting too many shares.

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Students who ask the questions at the fish markets also get the fish market to feel obliged to answer such questions.

After years of needing to answer these questions, the markets put pressure their buyers to supply these answers. So the interest by the consumer can have an accumulative effect.

In a place like Manaos (Brazil), the fish markets have whole fish, and the fish mongers know the names and where the fish were caught.

Aquaculture based fisheries are another factor in this picture.

Halibut is a great example of catch shares (in Alaska).

We are looking at how to sustain the catching of fish within a biocomplex system. So we are supporting best practices in fishing.

The curriculum needs to be data driven. But that is not enough.

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