Fisheries managers and policy makers have traditionally focused on measuring the health of fish stocks and managing for their sustainability. While understanding how healthy fish stocks is important, a recent paper by Jim Anderson and colleagues offer a new suite of measurements that also consider the social and economic benefits that fisheries deliver. Including these dimensions in assessments of fishery performance will be key to making the most of our fisheries.
“Stewardship is not only an environmental concern, it’s also a health, economic, food security and moral issue,” US Secretary of State John Kerry in his address to the Global Oceans Action Summit for Food Security and Blue Growth.
Oceans elicit emotional reactions in many people. They are places where we swim, fish, sail or simply watch the world go by. Yet, increasingly, we hear troubling messages that oceans are under grave threat from overfishing, pollution, climate change and more. These messages move us to take action. But, what actions can right past wrongs and create future opportunities?
Dave Mills, a senior researcher at WorldFish, was describing the outcomes of a project on governance reform with small-scale fishers in Ghana. This project had empowered women in the community by working to build confidence, capacity, and vision among women to engage in decision-making and by helping challenge underlying and oppressive attitudes towards them. Dave recounted how, at a project review meeting, the village chief proudly exclaimed “What have you done with these women – they have changed!”