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The Kermadecs – Fact Sheet

November 11, 2014

To have the entire 620,000 square kilometers of the Kermadec region protected. A Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary will be the single biggest marine reserve in the world, a fitting declaration for what National Geographic calls "one of the last pristine sites in our oceans."

A Line in the Ocean: Future Directions and Priorities for Kermadecs Science

November 1, 2014

The aim of this document is to stimulate interest in scientific research in the Kermadecs marine environment. It is also intended to inform discussion and debate – among the wider scientific community, science investors, decision makers and the general public – about the future of science in this remarkable natural laboratory. It presents some immediate directions and priorities for a more integrated approach to scientific research in the Kermadecs and is a first step towards a strategic approach to Kermadecs science. Research themes and questions in this document have been drafted by the Pew Environment Group, in consultation with scientists conducting research on key aspects of the Kermadec marine environment.

The Story of Pacific Bluefin Tuna

January 29, 2013

The story of Pacific bluefin tuna is a tale of extremes. They are pursued by fishermen at every turn but largely ignored by fisheries authorities. They migrate across the world's largest ocean, but spawn in only three distinct areas. In parts of the world, they are caught one at a time by local artisanal fishermen; but in others, entire schools are scooped up by industrial purse seine nets. The Pacific bluefin is pursued at every stage of its life, from when it is a few kilogram (3 pound) juvenile to when it's fully grown at more than 450 kilograms (1,000 pounds). A single fish commonly sells for tens of thousands of US dollars and the first fish auctioned in 2013 fetched more than 1.7 million dollars -- but comparably little money goes toward research or conservation. Pacific bluefin have supported fishermen and coastal communities for thousands of years, but governments and managers have neglected this amazing fish. Now the population, at less than 4 percent of its historical size, is in grave danger.

Building on Rio+20: What This Means for Fisheries Management

November 27, 2012

Almost every member State of the United Nations attended the June 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), and agreed by consensus to the outcome document, "The Future We Want." That outcome document was then endorsed by consensus by the UN General Assembly on 27 July 2012. A high priority was placed on oceans issues at the Rio+20 meeting and numerous Heads of State and government, ministers, and other officials cited the oceans, including fisheries, as a top priority for sustainable development.

Australia Creates World's Largest System of Marine Parks

November 15, 2012

Oceans cover almost three-quarters of the Earth's surface and contain most of the planet's biodiversity. Yet for all their richness, the oceans are in deep trouble. Scientists estimate that up to ninety percent of the largest fish species have been lost over the past 50 years due to overfishing. Roughly two-thirds of the world's coral reefs are damaged or threatened, and about a quarter have been destroyed. Yet less than 1 percent of the world's oceans are highly protected in marine parks.

Setting Annual Catch Limits

July 2, 2012

In 1976, Congress took the first steps to prevent overfishing—catching fish faster than they can reproduce—by passing the law that is now known as the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. The law called for conservation and management measures that would prevent overfishing and were based on science. Over the following decades, however, overfishing continued to deplete many important fish populations around the country. This prompted Congress to strengthen the law in 2006 by mandating enforceable annual catch limits (ACLs) that cannot exceed scientific recommendations and do not allow overfishing. The ACL requirement is now a cornerstone of U.S. fisheries management and has put our nation's fish stocks on the path to sustainability.

Bermuda's Legacy

June 19, 2012

The Sargasso Sea is one of the great ecological wonders of the world; on its surface floats a "golden rainforest" as teeming with colorful life as a coral reef. It remains much as it was when first described by Christopher Columbus in 1492. Plants, fish, turtles, and crabs thrive in this exceptionally clear, warm body of water, miles above the ocean floor. Among its wonders are birds that roost on the mats of golden Sargassum seaweed; a fish that has evolved pectoral fins, like five-fingered hands, that enable it to grasp and climb the seaweed; and eels that travel vast distances from the rivers of Europe and North America to reproduce somewhere in its depths before they die. This is the only sea in the world surrounded by currents, rather than land, and Bermuda is the only island within it. In addition to providing a nursery for fish and other sea life, the seaweed benefits Bermuda directly when it washes ashore and sinks into the sand, fertilizing the soil and strengthening the island against storms and erosion.

Rebuilding U.S. Fisheries: Success Stories

March 16, 2012

Efforts to protect and rebuild America's ocean fish are working. Rebounding fish populations create jobs, support coastal economies, repair damaged marine ecosystems, increase recreational fishing opportunities, and bring back fresh, local seafood. The benefits of ending overfishing and rebuilding depleted fish populations are far-reaching, and the cost of further delay would be significant. For example, commercial fishermen targeting depleted stocks in New England, the South Atlantic, and the Gulf of Mexico lost an estimated $164.2 million and realized just 25 percent of potential revenue in 2009 because of overfishing.

U.S. Ocean Fish Stocks: An Excellent Return on Investment

March 12, 2012

U.S. ocean fish stocks are one of the nation's most valuable natural resources, and with prudent stewardship, they have significant potential for growth and return on investment. Our ocean fish are governed by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA), a law passed and strengthened with bipartisan support that aims to maximize the long-term performance of fisheries by sustaining the natural capital upon which they depend.

Don't Take the Bait!

November 28, 2011

Myths have persisted for years about the impact of recreational fishing on ocean fish populations and how to manage that impact. Most recently, these myths have resurfaced as justification for a new bill, S. 1916/H.R. 2304, the Fishery Science Improvement Act. Don't let these myths (summarized in more detail below) disguise the fact that this legislation would put some of America's most valuable and vulnerable ocean fish populations at risk of overfishing by exempting them from science-based catch limits and accountability measures. Congress should reject S. 1916/H.R. 2304 and stand strong for the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA).

Mind the Gap: An Analysis of the Mediterranean Bluefin Trade

October 17, 2011

Examines the gaps between the international quota for bluefin tuna, the officially reported amount caught, and the reported amount traded on the market. Calls for an electronic catch documentation system and action against the use of illegal driftnets.

Gap Analysis: Comparing CCAMLR's Port State Measures

October 17, 2011

The Pew Environment Group conducted a gap analysis to identify specific disparities in port State measures (PSMs) adopted by 10 regional fisheries management organisations (RFMOs) as they compare to the FAO Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA). The goal of this research is to offer information that RFMOs can use to strengthen their own port State control systems and, as a result, help reduce illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, on both a regional and global scale. This report presents the findings of the gap analysis conducted for the Commission on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). Conclusions from this study indicate that although CCAMLR's port inspection scheme on toothfish (CM 10-03) is amongst the strongest set of PSMs adopted by any regional organisation, there are still several elements that could be strengthened. In relation to other fisheries, CCAMLR's PSMs are weaker and there is significant room for improvement.