FAO, The Ocean Foundation launch website to provide updates on harvest strategies

Fishermen hauling in their catch.

The Ocean Foundation (TOF) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have launched HarvestStrategies.org to provide information on current developments and implementations about global harvest strategies.

”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,” TOF International Fisheries Conservation Project Director Shana Miller said. “This site will be a go-to resource for fisheries participants and professionals of all backgrounds and expertise.”

The FAO Common Oceans Tuna project aims to improve tuna resources and management by bringing together five tuna regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs), industry members, intergovernmental organizations, and academia.

The project is under a five-year partnership to include the participation of the five tuna RFMOs and the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF). This was in collaboration with TOF project: the International Fisheries Conservation Program, which aims long-term sustainable marine fisheries global management.

“There has been much progress in recent years towards implementing harvest strategies for stocks in the RFMOs and we expect that this transformational process will lead to more-robust management of tuna by taking into account uncertainties and varying environmental conditions,” Common Oceans Tuna Project Manager Kim Stobberup said. “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.”

The harvest strategies website was developed to help answer the question of how many fish should be taken in a fishery. It has the latest information to aid fisheries in the rigorous process of trying to implement harvest strategies – management measures based on real time environmental and human-impact indicators, such as catch limits, Stobberup said.

“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,” Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT) Executive Secretary Dominic Vallieres said. “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 new website provides knowledge on harvest strategy implementation tips, tools, and resources for scientists, fisheries managers, and other stakeholders, Vallieres said. It also includes new animations explaining harvest strategies, theories on best approaches to implementing harvest strategies, and a management strategy evaluation (MSE) simulation tool. 

Photo courtesy of the United Nation Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)


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