EDF: On Assignment
Here is a selection of my work from my time at EDF this year! Projects include the Pacific ground fish industry and the Voceros program in La Paz, Mexico which seeks to empower and inform fishermen in Mexican communities to be voices of sustainable fishing.
For the third year, EDF’s La Paz, Mexico office welcomed Mexican fishers to a workshop designed to help them succeed as voices for sustainable fishing. The fishers worked closely with EDF staff to understand the problems that are preventing Mexico’s fisheries from being sustainable and the ways that these problems can be solved.
Mexico’s fisheries are responsible for 1.6% of global landings by weight, one of the reasons that Mexico is one of 12 countries EDF is focusing on for sustainable fisheries potential. EDF estimates that fishery reform in Mexico could generate an increase of over $211 billion USD in profits every year
EDF staff helped the fishers to identify the issues that are most relevant to their communities, finding that many fishers from disparate areas shared common concerns and challenges when it came to efficient, sustainable fishing efforts.
Fishers also worked with Vitalis, an organization that aids in environmental conservation and sustainable development through workshops in strategies to improve communication and behavior to achieve relevant goals.
Each day, the Voceros program helped the fishers develop the different skills of being a voice for their community and for sustainable fishing.
The first day established the problems that face fishing today. To demonstrate issues that stem from fishing techniques and access, the Voceros played the “juego de la pesca,” where Voceros were shown the tragedy of the commons, and were able to create their own management plan for their candy resources.
Later, the Voceros created problem trees, a way to organize problems and symptoms to get to the crux of an issue and plan the best way to solve it. This activity helped show that many of the Voceros shared concerns for their fisheries even though their geography and fisheries are different.
The next day covered public
policy in fisheries through a presentation given by Rodrigo Elizarrarás of EDF. The session informed the fishers about the system within which they are trying to change fisheries.
During the final days of the program, the Voceros were coached through the creation of a core message that they could present as their story. Vitalis helped the Voceros learn the best ways to communicate their stories and build confidence as champions of sustainable fishing.
Through this program, the Voceros were able to become better communicators and supporters of sustainable fishing efforts, leading to brighter futures for their fishing communities and for Mexico as a whole.
The Pacific Groundfish fishery has come back from the brink, and it has recovered astonishingly quickly. Ten species were declared overfished in 2000 and the industry was declared a commercial failure. Today, just 17 years later, seven of the ten species have been rebuilt. The crew of the Pioneer fish with modified nets that single out their target species and allow small fish to escape, helping to ensure a future for their fishery. These photos are from two visits with the FV Pioneer, one quick visit and one overnight expedition for rockfish and petrale sole.