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EditPhoto Title: Recovering Small-scale Fisheries in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape
EditImage Description:Fisherman cast a net to catch fish
EditPhoto Credit:© Kseniya Ragozina
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When small-scale fisheries do not operate sustainably, they can disrupt economically important services and reduce jobs, incomes and food supplies.
Small-scale fisheries employ more than 90% of the world’s fishermen, and the importance of small-scale fisheries to food security and poverty alleviation and prevention is becoming increasingly recognized. The Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape — which spans Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia and Ecuador — is no exception, with an estimated 1.3 million people employed as fishermen or fish farmers.
The seascape’s significant marine biodiversity and productivity are threatened by a number of natural resource management challenges. Few of the small-scale fisheries operate sustainably, with fishing practices that damage or degrade habitats and catch non-target species. In addition, overfished stocks and the loss of “keystone” (i.e., ecosystem-regulating) species such as lobster cause cascading effects that disrupt economically important services and, ultimately, reduce jobs, incomes and food supplies. Despite considerable improvements over the last decade, many small-scale fisheries in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape undermine conservation objectives and fail to benefit coastal communities as much as they could.
Reducing threats to the region’s marine ecosystems requires an understanding of the potential to shift from unsustainable practices to management approaches that prioritize conservation. Conservation International is working hand in hand with communities in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape to sustainably manage their main sources of protein and livelihoods and reverse overfishing so that fishing continues to provide people with food and jobs.
With more than 10 years of experience working in priority marine protected areas in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape — and with an increased focus on small-scale fisheries recovery — CI is well-positioned to provide technical and organizational assistance in the development of a recovery plan for selected small-scale marine fisheries. CI aims to generate the information base, broad stakeholder support and innovative financing strategy required to implement fisheries improvement projects — resulting in profitable small-scale fisheries as well as the implementation of ecosystem-based management that conserves the most important marine biodiversity areas of Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia and Ecuador.
One of the greatest challenges to small-scale fisheries recovery is generating the financing required to implement changes and transition governance and markets from overexploitation to sustainability. CI will help develop the tools and strategies to secure non-traditional financial sources for fisheries improvement projects. We will work with a range of national and international experts to standardize methods and protocols — and disseminate this information through a series of workshops so they can be applied to other small-scale fisheries.
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EditImage Alt Text:Night falls over Rio de Janeiro. © Nikada
EditTitle:Science and Innovation
EditImage Alt Text:Scientists set a camera trap. © Benjamin Drummond
EditImage Alt Text:Coral reef in Viti Levu, Fiji, Oceania. © William Crosse