The Ocean Foundation and FAO launch groundbreaking knowledge hub for fisheries management

November 2, 2022

AuthorDr. Tom Pickerell
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2 November 2022, Washington/Rome – The Ocean Foundation (TOF) and UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have launched a new website in support of sustainable fisheries management around the world. HarvestStrategies.org provides a clearinghouse of the latest information on the development and implementation of harvest strategies, also known as management procedures.

The question of how many fish should be taken in a fishery has been challenging scientists, decision-makers and stakeholders for decades. Harvest strategies, where management measures, such as catch limits, are based on real time environmental and human-impact indicators, can answer this important question.

These strategies have been implemented in some of the most important fisheries in the world. Yet, as a scientifically rigorous process, developing harvest strategies requires knowledge in theory, tools, and resources that can be challenging for even experts to digest.

This is where HarvestStrategies.org comes in. Developed jointly by TOF’s International Fisheries Conservation project and FAO’s Common Oceans Tuna Project, it is a groundbreaking knowledge hub that can help scientists, fisheries managers and other stakeholders make sense of this essential and quickly emerging topic for sustainable fisheries.

The website is part of a suite of communications products to be undertaken under a new five-year partnership as part the Common Oceans Tuna project. This collaboration will include the participation of the five regional fishery management organizations for tuna (tRFMOs), as well as the industry-affiliated International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF), to leverage this valuable new resource for developing, advocating for, and implementing harvest strategies for fisheries around the world.

”HarvestStrategies.org is the culmination of years of collaboration among governments, fishers, scientists and civil society to demystify the inner workings of this innovative and effective approach to ensuring a prolific future for tuna and other valuable fisheries,” said Shana Miller, the director of TOF’s International Fisheries Conservation Project. “This site will be a go-to resource for fisheries participants and professionals of all backgrounds and expertise.”

“There has been much progress in recent years towards implementing harvest strategies for stocks in the tRFMOs and we expect that this transformational process will lead to more robust management of tuna by taking into account uncertainties and varying environmental conditions,” said Kim Stobberup, Manager of the Common Oceans Tuna project. “However, further efforts are needed in building capacity for implementing harvest strategies, including at the manager and decision-making level. We are very supportive of this initiative led by The Ocean Foundation in collaboration with FAO, and all the participating tuna regional bodies.

“Harvest strategies have been an integral component of our rebuilding plan for the Southern bluefin tuna stock and have provided a vital link between scientists and decision-makers,” said Dominic Vallieres, Executive Secretary of the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT). “To be truly successful, harvest strategies must be based on a shared understanding amongst those with an interest in the management of the fishery. This is a challenge that CCSBT continues to face as our own use of harvest strategies in this fishery evolves. We welcome this website and hope that it will provide the transparency and capacity building required to support greater use and understanding of harvest strategies.”

The platform has a library of overviews and topical introductions to understand what harvest strategies are and why they are important. These include a new animation on harvest strategies for Southern bluefin tuna, joining existing animations on the harvest strategy approach and the management strategy evaluation (MSE) simulation tool used to develop them.

There is also an interactive page to learn about the harvest strategies in place, or in development around the world. For a deeper dive into the science behind harvest strategies and their performance, a repository of influential literature is available. Stay up to date on current issues via news articles and an exclusive blog featuring project partners and guest authors. For the technically savvy, the website hosts an application for visualizing MSE results to facilitate choice of the best performing harvest strategy.


Background

HarvestStrategies.org is a valuable asset to fisheries everywhere. It is available in English, French, and Spanish, with some resources available in ten additional languages. Be sure to take a look and also follow along on Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn.

Based in Washington, D.C., The Ocean Foundation (TOF) is the only community foundation for the ocean. TOF’s International Fisheries Conservation project seeks to catalyze the development and adoption of harvest strategies and other innovative tools for the long-term sustainable management of a diverse array of international fisheries, from giant tunas to the forage fish upon which they depend.

The Common Oceans Tuna project aims to ensure that tunas are fished more sustainably by mobilizing a global partnership in support of responsible tuna fisheries management and the conservation of biodiversity in the ocean areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ). Funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and led by FAO, it brings together the five regional fisheries management organizations, national agencies and intergovernmental organizations and initiatives, the private sector, civil society and academia.

TweetsOur latest tweets

At the last minute, the WCPFC members adopted a management procedure for skipjack to the relief of many MSC-certified WCPO fisheries. What consequence the non-binding clause will be have is unclear...https://zcu.io/DCSO @wcpfc #skipjack #

The #WCPFC annual meeting closed today. Big news: a #HarvestStrategy was adopted for Pacific skipjack, the world's largest #tuna fishery! But WCPFC will need to finish the job next year to make the catch advice coming out of the harvest strategy binding. https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/about/news-room/press-releases-and-statements/2022/12/03/pew-commends-skipjack-tuna--landmark-policy-but-calls-non-binding-plan-disheartening

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