Ending Overfishing

1.4 billion hooks from longline industrial fishing trawlers – this video dramatically shows the “scales of destruction”.

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/42619545″>Ending Overfishing</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/ocean2012″>OCEAN2012</a&gt; on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Breaking news: Fish farming in U.S. waters? NOAA needs your comments.

I understand from my friends at Food and Water Watch that NOAA/NMFS is poised to issue Kona Blue Water Farms (an open ocean aquaculture company)  a fishing permit for the purpose of establishing the first ocean fish farm in federal waters.  The 10-day comment period on the associated environmental assessment ends Sunday night.

The details as relayed to me : NOAA’s Pacific Island Regional Office received an application from Kona Blue  in late 2010 for a Special Coral Reef Fishing Permit to raise 20,000lbs of Kona Kampachi in federal waters off of Hawaii.  The fish would be raised in unmoored cages attached to an 80ft boat and move through a 7,200 sq mile area.  NOAA is calling the cages a new ‘gear-type.’

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A New Year

It was gratifying and inspiring to find out that there were over 1500 visits to this site last year. I am going to begin posting more of the video interviews with the fishers over the next few months. If you’d like to make sure you get them, subscribe to my rss feed – or look for my fisher to fisher facebook page. I post all the videos there also.

I’m finding more and more like minded  people who are interested in supporting artisinal fishers and understand the importance of working with them as equal partners in the stewardship of our environment.

The fishers I’ve interviewed have a lot to teach us all about conservation, not just in the Caribbean waters, but here on land.  They understand the need for collaboration between individuals, governments and community organizations. They get that environmental regulations are necessary  and are willing to make shared sacrifices. They are not in denial about climate change. And nothing they do will be of any use if we don’t get our heads out of the sand in the U.S. and get serious about carbon emissions.

Every week I see more coming out about the acidification of the ocean, coral bleaching and sea level rise in response to the melting of glaciers.

When I get discouraged, they give me courage. I look forward to sharing more with you in the New Year.

More on catch shares and local fishers

My friends at foodandwaterwatch.org have posted a new article about the dangers of catch shares. Too often this point of view is not heard in the push to impose catch shares, which already have a lot of funding behind them. Much of it from corporate interests. 

Green Antilles: news on the Caribbean environment

I am thrilled to have found Therese Yarde’s blog on Caribbean environmental news. Therese has been kind enough to repost from fisher to fisher, which I appreciate. But more, Green Antilles

of wolves and whales

It said “Save the Wolves” on the front and “For Stew” on the back. I had stopped at the Road Kill Cafe, a famous local joint in McCleod, Montana where my husband and I are vacationing, to get a tee shirt for my seven year old grandson. The bartender, a friendly, 50ish, bleached blonde, turned the shirt over to reveal “For Stew” with a self satisfied grin. “We hate wolves. Shoot ’em on site around here”, she said, “They kill our horses and livestock.” She clawed at the air, “Take the haunches right out of ‘em.”

Down 298, past where the blacktop turns to gravel is a huge ranch just bought by a conglomerate of mega wealthy. Word has it that even their caretaker is not allowed to fish the river on the ranch grounds. Locals who try to access via the adjoining National Forest Access (which is legal) are routinely hassled.

This place reminds me a lot of the Caribbean, breathtakingly beautiful, amazing natural riches, an uneasy truce beneath which lurks conflicts between rich and poor, local and outsider. High stakes for everybody, environmentally and economically. It’s not as crowded here and the poverty not as steep as in the Caribbean. Still, no easy answers. And a desperate, often unrecognized need to be able to talk to each other despite the gulf involved.

Earlier I had been trolling the internet. Found a site called “Caribbean Whalefriends” and clicked through to an ad produced to persuade Caribbeans to urge their governments not to help Japan overturn the whaling ban — fair warning, if you link through, the ad is very disturbing.

Lord Ashcroft, a British noble, funded it. The announcer, who from his age and King’s English diction might be Ashcroft himself, exhorts the viewer as bloody water washes over a toddler’s ankles and whale blood from a harpooned whale gushes — While I entirely support the cause, I wonder about the tactic.

What got me thinking about the similarities between Montana and the Caribbean was the responses to the Whalefriends ad on the youtube site — as disturbing as the ad itself. Is this a persuasive ad for people in the Caribbean? Does it come across as a bludgeon? Now, I’m reading that the Antiguan Ambassador to Japan is serving as the Chairman for the International Whaling Commission meeting that’s coming up — and had his hotel paid for by the Japanese. Very sad.

Meantime, I hope the whaling ban stays in place and I want to save the wolves and not for stew. I skipped the tee shirt and left the bar without a word, wondering how, in the grand scheme, people like my wolf stew loving acquaintance and I can come together.

great news, fishers in bahamas work with WWF and others toward sustainable lobster fishery

IMPORTANT BAHAMAS PRESS RELEASE

An excerpt from the press release:
A major campaign involving education, fisheries monitoring and a stock assessment of lobsters has begun with combined efforts coming from the Department of Marine Resources (DMR), the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Bahamas Marine Exporters Association (BMEA), who represent the processors and the fishermen in this endeavor.The goal, to get Marine Stewardship Council Certification.
“I never thought I would have to contemplate the Bahamas without a sustainable lobster fishery, but I am seeing it come to pass right before my eyes. We need to preserve this resource for generations to come. That is why I am supporting this certification effort with every asset I have at my disposal” said Glenn Pritchard, a forty‐year veteran of the lobster industry and President of Tropic Seafood. Pritchard is joined by Mia Isaacs of Heritage Seafood and President of the BMEA who echoed his sentiments and went on to say “MSC certification is essential to preserving the livelihood of thousands of Bahamians…”

Supporting Caribbean fisherfolk

I am not a scientist, nor an expert. I’m a person with a passion sparked by meeting a fisherman who inspired me to believe I could – and must – do something to help.

So. I’ve been rolling this around in my head for awhile — how can film help promote the leadership of fishers in marine conservation in a way that’s actually going to raise awareness and make something constructive happen in the world and particularly the ocean?

I passionately believe that film is important for its ability to move us. But my thoughts are with Dal and my roots are in marketing: Art is great. But there is an ocean of difference in raising consciousness and making things happen. So much of the important work that’s being done is local or regional: small projects, supported by small organizations. Who better to tell us what needs to happen in their places than the fishers?

I’d like to use the model of charity:water and make this site as a conduit to support fisher led conservation and maybe eventually a film. I’m still working on the logistics of that, so if you want to help in any way, stay tuned — or better yet, subscribe to the blog or find me on facebook or twitter.

While I’m in Montana, I’m editing videos from the fishermen we filmed in Venezuela. I get energized every time I hear from the fishers — they’re amazing people. I’ll be posting the edits shortly, so that’s yet another reason to subscribe.

And if you have ideas, please leave a comment.

purse-seining tigers would be equally reprehensible.

Heres’s a link to an article from Greenpeace about purse seining for bluefin tuna in the Meditteranean The money quote for me: “the losers in this set-up, aside from the bluefin themselves, or the bycatch in skipjack nets, are the traditional fishing communities who have been catching fish with minimal impact for centuries.”

How can I best serve the fishers of the Caribbean?

How can I best serve the fishers of the Caribbean? It’s been on my mind a lot lately. With the Gulf Oil Spill, marine conservation is more important than ever and the role of Caribbean fishers is as critical as ever if not more. While it is important to support the fishermen in affected areas along the Gulf Coast, it is no less important to act decisively to protect and preserve fisheries across the Gulf and Caribbean. And none of those efforts will work without the fishermen. And the fishermen themselves are the best folks to reach and educate other fishers and their communities. (I’m going to be posting some interviews with scientists soon to talk about why this is so, but for now I’m just going to say it.)

A documentary takes a long time to produce. A time horizon of years is too long for this work. It was too long before the Gulf Oil Spill.

So, I plan to revamp the blog. Ramp up my use of social media. Start posting video interviews asap of the fishers from the Fisher’s Summit sponsored by the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute. There could not be a more powerful tool for raising awareness than hearing directly from these fishermen. Along with the interviews, I plan to post links to places where you can find out more about and support the projects and initiatives that support the fishermen who are already leading conservation efforts in their home waters. There are a lot of great marine conservation organizations, but frustratingly few avenues that I know of where money or support from regular folks can be channeled directly to projects that affect the fisherfolk. Awareness is great. Support is greater. If you know of specific channels, please let me know so I can post them here.

The first interview I’m going to post is of Ceylon Clayton, who has been working to save and protect sea turtles in Jamaica for decades – no money, no applause, just something he cared about.

Also, it seems to me that fly fishermen and the fishers are a natural alliance. Fly fishing guiding is an alternative livelihood for many of the fishermen that enables them to take less and survive. And fly fishermen get it. They share the passion. So I’m also going to be looking for ways to link fly fishermen directly to the fisher’s cause. Anyone who knows of any projects or initiatives already underway, I’d love to hear about those, so I can post links to them, too.

I’m a neophyte at all this social media stuff, so any and all advice from experienced bloggers and people connected to conservation is welcome.

Not that I’m giving up on the film. It will be an important tool, as long as there are still fish and fishers by the time it’s released.