Thursday, October 25, 2012

Catch Onto to Catch Shares

Overfishing -- taking creatures from the sea faster then they can reproduce -- is one of the biggest ocean issues, right up there with ocean acidification and ocean warming. 

Fisheries all over the planet, not every fishery but many, face depletion, commercial extinction, and the cascading negative effects of barren seas on once-healthy ecosystems.

It does not bode well when you consider how important fish are to healthy oceans and how important healthy oceans are to people.  One estimate puts over a billion people relying on the oceans for their primary protein source.

The good news is that good people are working to change this.  One idea -- catch shares -- continues to show success.  Catch shares maintain sustainable fisheries and keep many fishermen in their livelihood.  Let Matt Rand, the guy who brought us crucial shark sanctuaries and other important ocean victories, tell you all about it. 

"...there is evidence that the rights based management programs, like catch shares, implemented in the United States have been working. Part of the report analyzes progress in U.S. fisheries and shows that solid, science-based catch limits along with rights based management and other measures have been effective in addressing the problems of overfishing," according to Matt.

Also effective and similar to catch shares are TURF reserves.  According to two other ocean leaders, Carl Safina and Brent Jenks, TURF reserves work and deserve a chance (and for sure there is urgency).

"Give local fishers exclusive access to their fishing grounds, in the form of 'territorial user rights to fishing' (TURF, in the jargon).  In exchange for the exclusivity privilege, local fishers must agree to establish, and protect, no-take zones. Results include: increased fish populations, richer marine habitats, and coastlines more resilient to climate changes. And: more food for people," noted Carl and Brent in a recent post.

Read their full post.


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