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.’

Continue reading


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.

“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.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

More on catch shares and local fishers

My friends at 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. 

At Sea Level, the documentary


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

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


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…”