Pirate Fishing

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FISH 101 BRIEF the challenges of developing-nation fisheries look very different from those of their commercially developed brethren. They are pulled into a maelstrom of multiple forces: Local " fishers " who use cyanide and dynamite to kill and catch fish wreak enormous damage on reefs and coastlines. The best and high-value fish of these fisheries are whisked off to higher-paying customers in developed nations, creating food security challenges. Additionally, certification programs require fish stock assessments based on data that most small nations can't afford. The Marine Stewardship Council recently implemented alternative assessment criteria, but by and large, developing countries still lack effective on-ramps to improvement that can provide connections to markets, as well as better management. Finally, the insult added to all of this injury is the scourge of pirate trawlers, which illegally fish off the coastlines of developing nations that have little policing capacity, decimating the livelihoods of subsistence and small-boat fishers. » More than 20% of the world's 38 million full-time fishers earn less than US$1 per day. » A 35-ounce beer bottle bomb can leave a 3-6 ft crater in a coral reef, kill-ing 50-80% of the coral in that area. » Fish is often the only animal protein available to the poor and makes up 20-50% of the animal protein diet for people in Low Income Food Deficit Countries. » For every fish caught with cyanide, a 3-by-3 ft area of reef is destroyed. » One billion people rely on seafood as their primary protein. » One-third of fishery commodity production in developing countries is destined for export. KEY STATS *Data from 2008 feeding the hungry developing-world fisheries © Future of Fish 2014 CHALLENGES OPPORTUNITIES SIMPLE SOLUTIONS Ice availability and more up-to-date-refrigeration technology would go a long way toward reducing waste and improving the economic value of exported fish, as would better fish handling techniques. DIRECT CONNECT Opportunities to more directly connect small-scale developing-world fishers with the premium markets of the developed world can return higher profits to fishers who need it most. LOCALLY GROWN MANAGEMENT NGOs are initiating partnership programs with local supply chains and communities to implement programs that combine designated access with marine protected areas. These locally customized initiatives limit access for fishing and let citizens lead and enforce. Rare's " Fish Forever " program enlists local grassroots leaders to build community buy-in to care for their own marine ecosystems, while working with politicians to structure management policies that deliver environmental wins similar to, or better than, a certification process.

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  • Patrick Love

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