Oceana will work to improve fisheries management in two countries, Brazil and the Philippines. Their overarching commitment is to assist governments to make concrete improvements in their system of fisheries management, including controlling fishing effort, reducing destructive fishing practices and gear, establishing closed areas to protect spawning and nursery grounds, and improving enforcement to protect small-scale fishers from illegal fishing by industrial-scale fishers. Oceana's approach will use a combination of tools. These include, in particular, scientific analyses and reports to make the scope of the problems vivid, as well as identify solutions; media work to raise the profile of fisheries issues with the public and decision-makers; legal cases to support the government when it is taking appropriate action. Oceana will establish appropriate staff teams in both countries, including individuals with the relevant skills for the actions described above. Oceana anticipates that staff will number approximately 10 individuals in each country.
Specific plans in each country will be finalized in December 2014, and potential activities include the following.
For the Philippines, support for the government in its effort to ban the destructive fishing gear known as hulbot-hulbot, or 'modified Danish seine' (a kind of trawl). The government has taken the important step of banning this damaging gear (supported by small scale fishers), but is facing lawsuit from industrial fishers. Oceana will join with others to support the government, both by providing resources for the legal case, and raising the profile of the issue in the media and with other key decision-makers. Oceana will work with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquaculture to identify and ban additional destructive fishing gear and develop initiatives to improve enforcement in municipal waters of regulations designed to protect small-scale fishers from encroachment and competition from industrial fishers.
In Brazil, Oceana will work with scientists and the federal government to develop, test, and implement so-called bycatch reduction devices to address fish bycatch in one or more shrimp trawl fisheries capitalizing on fishers and the government's interest in restoring the ability of the fleet to export to the USA (currently suspended due to violations of US law requiring turtle excluder device certification). The organization will work with the federal government to enforce the law against illegal mid-water trawlers that are targeting spawning aggregations of a species of fish that is in danger of collapse as a result. The ultimate goal will be to identify and close the area to any fishing during the spawning season, in order to ensure that sustainable gear will continue to be able to catch this fish.
In Brazil and the Philippines, this commitment will help to ensure that fish populations that are depended upon by local, small-scale fishing communities are not depleted by large-scale fishers, giving these communities better opportunities for fishing livelihoods. Concurrently, they will improve the health of ocean ecosystems, with broader benefits to society and fishers.
1. Plans for both countries should be finalized by December 31, 2014.
2. Activities are already underway in both countries at a start-up level. In the Philippines, Oceana is working to help the government defend itself against the lawsuit by fishers using illegal gear. In Brazil, Oceana has started conversations with federal government officials and scientists to identify potential gear solutions to shrimp trawl bycatch and to explore enforcement options of illegal trawlers.
3. Brazil and the Philippines are on similar timelines both for project development and implementation.
4. The primary deliverables for these efforts are changes to regulations or policies that result in tangible and concrete changes affecting commercial/industrial fishers' behavior (i.e.: bans on specific destructive fishing gear; requirements to modify gear to make it more sustainable; regulatory closures of fishing areas during the spawning season).
Nearly one billion people currently do not have enough to eat. The demand for food is increasing as the population grows by approximately one billion every 12 years. Additionally, rising standards of living are increasing demand for food, and especially demand for animal protein, about twice as fast as the rate of population growth. The demand for food is projected to increase 70 percent by 2050. However, agriculture and livestock are limited in their ability to meet this rising demand, as arable land is decreasing on a per capita basis and fresh water is becoming increasingly scarce. Furthermore, global climate change is reducing the productivity of some existing farmland through shifts in rainfall distribution.
Numerous statistics show that the global demand for fish has resulted not in the harvesting of fish, but the mining of them, and thus rapidly depleting global fish stocks. The global catch of ocean fish, after rising for uncounted generations, peaked in the mid-1980s and has been falling at an accelerating rate ever since. Depletion of ocean fish affects poor and vulnerable populations disproportionately. More than 95 percent of the world's fishers engage in small-scale and artisanal activity and catch nearly the same amount of fish for human consumption as the highly capitalized industrial sector. Industrial fishers, though, are capturing an increasing share of the decreasing global catch. In many places, the industrial fleet interferes with small-scale fishers trying to improve fishing through conservation (such as by creating small marine reserves that protect nurseries), because the industrial boats threaten to seize the resulting bounty. Small-scale fishers and their communities often depend on fishing for their livelihoods and do not have many good alternatives for making a living. At least 420 million hungry people live in major fishing countries. As the result of generous funding from the Bloomberg Philanthropies, Oceana now has the opportunity to help change this situation in two important countries, Brazil and the Philippines.
Oceana is looking for partners who can work with them in Brazil and the Philippines to: 1) help NGOs interested in ocean conservation and sustainable fisheries with potential or ongoing projects in the countries; 2) support fishers and processors in each country who are interested in moving towards more sustainable fisheries; and 3) encourage companies to engage in marketing seafood that have an interest in sustainable fish supplies from these countries. Through the support of Bloomberg Philanthropies, Oceana has opened office in Brazil and the Philippines, but seeks additional financial and/or in-kind resources.
Oceana will offer advocacy and best-practice support to governments, organizations, and communities working to combat declining fish populations that have occurred due to destructive fishing practices.