“We started with almost no participation from women in the fishers network.” – fisher Angélica Maria Méndez Parham

Angélica Maria Méndez Parham is the co-founder and current Manager of the Guatemalan Caribbean and Izabal Lake Artisanal Fishers Networks. She has been instrumental in the creation of strategic alliances among fishing organizations all along the coast of Guatemala. A longtime spokesperson for the protection of coastal and marine resources and the environment, Angélica is from the town of Livingston on the coast of Guatemala. In 2010, Angélica was honored with the Gladding Memorial Award by the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute.

I started fishing for crabs at the age of seven to contribute to the family economy. My sister and two brothers fished together but I always went by myself. When I got married at the age of 18, I started fishing with my husband to support our family. We would fish for shrimp using small trawling nets called changos.

I helped get fishing organizations together from Barra Sarstún to Punta de Manabique to form the Guatemalan Caribbean and Izabal Lake Artisanal Fishers Networks. Now we have a voice. Continue reading

“We were hoping the fishers would propose one no take zone, instead they proposed four.” An interview with Claudio Gonzalez of MARfund

Claudio Gonzales of MARfund(right) with fishers in Honduras.

MARfund is an organization whose mission is to protect the Meso- american Reef, the second largest  in the world, a 700-mile long system off the Caribbean coastline of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras. We spoke with Claudio in August.

On MARfund’s work with fishers:  In 2007 and 2008, MAR Fund, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and Comunidad y Biodiversidad (COBI) organized workshops involving authorities, NGOs, academia and the fishermen in all 4 countries of the MAR region. Since then the fishers have been very interested in being involved in marine resources co-management. Continue reading

“You can not say a fish is caught until it is in the boat.”

An interview with Mitchell Lay of the Caribbean Network of Fisherfolk Organizations.  Mitch is doing some amazing work to bring fishers together to advocate for their own interests. His quiet but confident leadership and steadfast advocacy are one reason to have hope for the future of fish and fishers.

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At Sea Level, the documentary

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The Caribbean is right on our doorstep. It shelters the second largest coral reef in the world and countless marine species. It’s beautiful. It’s fragile. The people of the Caribbean need our support to conserve it for all of us.

This is a short excerpt from the documentary in progress At Sea Level, Caribbean fisherfolk and the future of the sea. The film will tell the stories of fishers who are already leading conservation in their own words. These interviews were done at the Fisher’s Summit of the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute Conference.

Seeing the ocean crisis through a fisher’s eyes.

This is a short version of the 11 minute film used by the United Nations Environment Program in the Caribbean. To see the full film and other videos featuring Caribbean fishers visit the fisher to fisher vimeo channel.

My favorite quote from Dalston Samuels, a fisher from Antigua and Barbuda: “Ignorance is more expensive than knowldege, if you allow ignorance to prevail.”

Too many people don’t understand the importance of artisinal fishers to marine conservation — or the importance of fishers as marine conservation stewards, partners, collaborators and educators along with scientists, government officials and NGOs. Dal makes an eloquent case for fisher participation.

Catch Shares = No Shares for the Fisher, an interview with Daniel Pauly

In this video, Dr. Daniel Pauly, a leading fisheries scientist, discusses the problems with catch shares.

I was inspired to post the interview with Dr. Pauly after receiving a petition from the Environmental Defense Fund asking me to push my congresspeople to support catch shares. Had I not had this discussion with Dr. Pauly, I would not have realized how controversial they are. Continue reading