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Ecuador and Peru launched the Coastal Fisheries Initiative - Latin America (CFI) in Manta, which includes integrated actions for the management and use of coastal fisheries in an inclusive manner, in artisanal and small-scale fisheries scale. The initiative was structured by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the non-governmental organization Conservation International (CI).

The two organizations signed the respective agreements for the technical and financial implementation of the project, which is valid for 48 months and aims to demonstrate holistic, ecosystem-based management to improve the governance of coastal fisheries in the Southeast Pacific.

In order to consolidate the project in both countries, it will be necessary to implement the following strategies: creation of practice communities with fishers, stakeholders and authorities of both countries, implementation of specific practical tests for seven fisheries and two sites, registration and exchange of experience and lessons learned, between both countries and between IPC participants and the implementation of lessons to improve the existing schemes of fisheries governance or to implement new ones.

The Coastal Fisheries Initiative is an association of six organizations that has been developed and funded within the framework of the GEF to safeguard the world's oceans and the marine environment.

Source: FIS, 28 July 2018

An international ocean conservation and advocacy organization has called on the government to issue guidelines to protect the country’s major fishing grounds, to curb overfishing and illegal fishing activities in municipal waters and ensure the livelihood of small fishers. “The policy, as among those provided for under the amended Fisheries Code, pertains to the designation of Fisheries Management Areas, or FMAs, in the country. It is envisioned that a comprehensive science-based fisheries management plan will be enforced on these areas to ensure sustained productivity and protect them from overfishing, illegal fishing, and destructive fishing practices that destroy critical marine habitats,” said environment lawyer and vice president of Oceana Philippines. She added that the designation of FMAs is needed to rebuild and restore the abundance of the country’s fishing grounds, two-thirds of which are considered "overfished."

The Department of the Interior and Local Government recently issued a memorandum circular for coastal local government units to regulate and monitor fishery activities in their municipal waters. It likewise rolled out nationwide a scorecard for local government units (LGUs) to fill up, as a self-validating transparency and monitoring tool in assessing its compliance with the amended Fisheries Code.

Source: Philippines News Agency, 27 September 2018

Untouched ocean habitats shrinking rapidly, study says

Published in Research
Tuesday, 13 November 2018 03:06

Shipping, pollution and overfishing have reduced areas of “wilderness” to just 13 % of the world’s oceans, a study, warning that untouched marine habitats could completely vanish within half a century. International researchers analyzing the impact of human activity on underwater ecosystems — from fertilizer runoff to increased sea transport — have mapped the dwindling zones considered pristine.

The bulk of remaining ocean wilderness, classed as “mostly free of human disturbance,” was found in the Arctic and Antarctic, and around remote Pacific islands.

Just 5 % of the wilderness areas are in protected zones, leaving the rest vulnerable, according to the study published in the journal Current Biology. It called for greater international coordination to regulate the world’s oceans, clamp down on overfishing, limit destructive ocean-mining and reduce sediment runoff.

Last year, the United Nations began negotiating its first conservation treaty for the high seas, which would be a legally binding act governing the sustainable use of oceans outside national maritime boundaries.

Source: AFP, 27 July 2018

Argentina and Spain have signed a fisheries and aquaculture bilateral cooperation Memorandum of Understanding. The MoU was stamped in Buenos Aires during the recent G20 Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries ministerial meeting by Argentina's Luis Miguel Etchevehere and Spain's Luis Planas.

The MoU establishes a framework of cooperation to reinforce the bases for an improved maritime sector potential exploitation and ensure conservation and a sustainable management of straddling species.

It will also coordinate efforts to combat illegal, undeclared, unreported fishing and collaboration in scientific research in the area adjacent to Argentina's Exclusive Economic Zone. Cooperation will also be extensive to technological exchange on production and marketing, with training and formation programs.

The two countries will exchange information on fisheries, scientific knowledge in fisheries research and related activities. Argentina and Spain will share information and technology in the fields of catches, aquaculture breeding, transformation, distribution and related activities, are some of the outstanding points of the MoU.

Source: MercoPress, 1 August 2018

Fishing nets must have ID tags

Published in Fisheries
Tuesday, 13 November 2018 02:54

World Animal Protection call on the member states of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to ensure all fishing nets are ID tagged by 2025 to reduce the numbers of marine animals being killed by lost fishing nets.

Every year more than one hundred thousand whales, dolphins, seals and turtles are caught in "ghost gear" - abandoned, lost and discarded fishing nets, lines and traps which can take up to 600 years to decompose. A staggering 640,000 MT of ghost gear is left in the ocean each year. At present, there are no effective mechanisms to identify the owner of fishing gear when it is lost or abandoned, making it harder to hold companies responsible and identify illegal operations. Fishing gear is designed to capture and kill and when lost it can cause immense suffering for marine animals that can get caught in this incredibly durable equipment. The animals suffer a prolonged and painful death, usually suffocating or starving to death. Seven out of ten (70%) entanglements involve plastic ghost gear.

Source: Voxy, 10 July,2018

Pacific bluefins in depleted state?

Published in Fisheries
Tuesday, 13 November 2018 02:50

According to the Pew Charitable Trust, the Pacific bluefin tuna population is at just 3.3% of its unfished level, a conclusion that the NGO says confirms the species’ severely depleted status.

Basing its statement on a recently concluded study by the International Scientific Committee for Tuna and Tuna-like Species in the North Pacific Ocean, Pew says that there is continued need for more effective management of the fishery despite countries finally agreeing last year to a rebuilding plan for the species.

The study found that most of the recent catch has been composed of juvenile fish and that despite the heavily depleted status of the stock, the overal catch rose between 2015 and 2016 as four of the five main fishing nations exceeded their quotas. It points out that the estimated number of Pacific bluefin spawned in 2016 was more than double that in 2015 but only slightly above the average over the past 50 years.

Pew calls upon the IATTC and WCPFC to take a science-based approach to ensure that the population is indeed on the road to recovery and must agree on a Pacific-wide harvest strategy that includes precautionary objectives and pre-agreed rules for managing the fishery.

Source: INFOFISH International 4/2018

APEC economies committed to the ocean- IUU Fishing

Published in Fisheries
Tuesday, 13 November 2018 02:47

In June, experts and decision makers from around the world gathered at the United Nations Headquarters in New York to focus on the commitment made by nations in 2015 to protect the health of the ocean.

Voluntary agreements have been pledged across the spectrum, from industries to NGOs, in support of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 “Life Below Water”.
The Global Oceans Program (GOP) of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) representative, said Illegal 

Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing is diverting the commitment to reach the SDG 14 by 2020. In her presentation on IUU to the APEC Oceans and Fisheries Working Group (OFWG) said to reach the SDG 14, a combined effort is required by all groups and agencies involved in the monitoring, control and surveillance (MCS) of its oceans.

She further said that TNC is working in unison with respective authorities and international bodies at the national, regional and global to help combat IUU fishing.

In the Pacific Islands, IUU fishing has cost US$660 million annually in loss of revenue from ocean resources.

Source: APEC, 7 August, 2018

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) released a publication predicting that climate change will affect the productivity of the world’s freshwater and marine fisheries. The report urges countries to meet their adaptation commitments to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change to minimize the impacts of climate change on the world’s fisheries and the livelihoods of the world’s poorest people.

The publication titled, Impacts of climate change on fisheries and aquaculture: Synthesis of current knowledge, adaptation and mitigation options, combines global, regional and national analyses and modeling from over 100 collaborating scientists’ projects. Because of a changing climate, the Synthesis projects, among other impacts: shifts in ocean circulation patterns; rising sea levels; altered rainfall and storm patterns; and changes in water temperature and pH levels. These changes are predicted to alter the distribution and productivity of marine species and increase the incidence of aquatic diseases and other impacts such as coral bleaching.

Speaking at the report’s launch FAO Director-General urged the international community to provide adequate support to help countries adapt to climate change. Observing the failure of the Green Climate Fund’s (GCF) board to decide on replenishment of the fund in the previous week, he appealed to governments on the GCF board to resolve their disagreements over funding.

Source: ICSF Samudra News Alert, 12 July 2018

Women in Fisheries website launched

Published in Fisheries
Tuesday, 13 November 2018 02:40

New research exploring women’s roles in fishing families officially gets going, as the Women in Fisheries project launches its new website. The study is examining how women contribute to the survival of both fishing families and the fishing industry, and will shed light on women’s roles, identities and wellbeing.
Collecting data on both sides of the Atlantic - in Newfoundland, Canada and in the UK - Women in Fisheries is also hoping to understand how small-scale fishing families (those using boats under 10m in length) are adapting to a changing environmental and economic climate. The new website helps to provide background on the research and explores what we currently know about the role of women in this sector.

The site features a regularly updated news section where people can follow the project’s progress; read about latest research; and hear about other efforts to improve recognition of women in fisheries on local and international levels.

Source: AKTEA, 8 August 2018

Common oceans are marine Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ) that are not governed by any single nation. Instead, all nations are jointly responsible for sustainably managing those areas. ABNJ, also known as common oceans, include the high seas and the seabed’s beyond the extended continental shelf of coastal states - areas which are difficult to monitor, challenging to manage and easy to over-exploit.

Unfortunately, common oceans face a variety of threats including illegal fishing, pollution and unsustainable fishing and shipping practices. These activities are damaging diverse and valuable ecosystems that provide important ecosystem services, essential food and vital livelihoods for people around the world. Millions of families in both developed and developing countries depend on income generated from fishing and its associated activities. 150 000 MT of deep-sea species of fish are caught every year, and up to 50 different deep-sea species are caught in common oceans alone.

Building on the need to achieve sustainable management of fisheries and biodiversity conservation in common oceans, FAO developed the Common Oceans ABNJ Programme with support from the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The Programme, comprised of four individual projects, is an innovative, unique and comprehensive initiative working in close collaboration with two other GEF agencies, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Bank. Focusing on tuna and deep-sea fisheries, the four projects bring together some 65 partners including governments, regional management bodies, civil society, the private sector, academia and industry to work towards ensuring the sustainable use and conservation of ABNJ biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Source: FAO, 2 July 2018

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INFOFISH is the leading source of marketing support for fish producers and exporters in the Asia-Pacific - a region which includes some of the largest fishing nations in the world.

Its activities include bringing buyers and sellers together, publication of current and long-term marketing information and operation of technical advisory and specialized services.

In addition to organizing exhibitions, conferences, workshops, seminars and training programs, INFOFISH undertakes consultancies on all aspects of fisheries - pre-harvest, harvest and post-harvest.