Dr. Jake Kritzer
Director, Boston Environmental Defense Fund
Seen by many as the biggest threat to healthy ocean ecosystems, curbing overfishing has become a priority focus for many actors spanning government, academia, the seafood industry, civil society, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The role of NGOs varies among organizations and fisheries across the globe, including activism, advocacy, research, capacity-building, implementation, and more. Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) historically worked primarily on fisheries in the United States, where well-developed policy, governance, management, and scientific infrastructure enabled a narrower focus on design, implementation, and evolution of rights-based approaches that provide greater security and flexibility for fishing fleets. More recently, EDF has adopted a global strategy that aims to achieve a tipping point for sustainability by working in 14 priority fishing governments where need, opportunity, and potential impact are greatest. Contemporary infrastructure in these geographies spans a broad spectrum, and foundational elements of effective management are absent or underdeveloped in many places. This has necessitated a more broadly focused scope of work, including attention to strengthening the role of science in management. Experience in the U.S. with both successful reforms and ongoing challenges has proven to be valuable in collaborations in other countries aimed at improving science-based management. In particular, unique opportunities are unfolding to reform fisheries science and management in China, by far the world’s largest fishing power, through collaborative research, implementation experiments, international exchanges, training and capacity building, and more. The prospect of China becoming both a model and a global champion for sustainable fisheries presents unparalleled possibilities.
Host: Yong Chen