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We have excerpted portions of his interview below. Thank you, Eric, for speaking with ODP!
ODP: There have been many studies documenting the impact that climate change is having on fish stocks.Is EDF seeing this actually play out in its fisheries work here in the U.S. and worldwide?
ES: Yes. Ten years ago we began to see this in the Northeast Atlantic with the mackerel wars as mackerel began to shift into new waters…and it really upset a sustainable fisheries management regime predominantly centered in Great Britain — ten years ago. More recently and closer to home, we have seen the recruitment failure of Pacific cod in the Gulf of Alaska, which caused the unprecedented move of the closure of that fishery….
ODP: In the U.S. we regulate fisheries by region. If the fish are shifting out of the regions where they are typically managed, how do we deal with that?
ES: …The need to manage where the fish are going to be or will be…that’s the next big challenge …we have allocations based on historic distribution patterns and they really are not set up to easily adjust to these shifts… and we don’t want to leave out a focus on justice and equity and ensuring that communities across the U.S. and around the world are not unfairly disadvantaged because of loss of productivity or distribution off their shores….
ODP: The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the fishing sector quite hard, with many fishers not able to fish and others struggling to sell their catches. What is happening?
ES: …It is interesting to draw the comparison between the impacts of short term disruptions associated with COVID and the longer-term disruptions that we are seeing and will see more of in relation to climate — some of the same types of resiliencies will have to be applied.
ODP: New electronic monitoring technology is making it possible for fisheries to be much better managed. Do you think fishermen will begin to accept and embrace this new technology now?
ES: Yes…I think the experiences of COVID really have put a lot more fisherman in the position of appreciating the value of technology as an alternative to at-sea monitors…These are tools that can help fishermen in their business operations as well.
Hurricane Isaias, while only a category 1 (low strength) storm, caused great damage along the coast of the Carolinas and inland up the I-95 corridor, with several people killed, leaving nearly 3 million people without power, and causing widespread flooding necessitating water rescues up the Eastern seaboard all the way from Myrtle Beach, SC to Philadelphia, CNN reported last night.
Why This Matters: Sea level rise and coastal flooding are some of today’s toughest climate challenges. While the gut instinct may be to “build that wall,” in the case of the ocean, walls and other “hardened” structures only make matters worse.
Using satellite monitoring technology and intelligence capabilities, an investigation by NBC News and Ian Urbina an author and former NY Times journalist, has uncovered massive fishing by a “dark” fleet in North Korean waters with deadly results for North Korean fishermen.
Why This Matters: China is a member of the UN Security Council that in 2017 banned fishing in North Korean waters (which China used to pay to access) as part of sanctions it imposed after North Korea’s nuclear missile tests. If it’s true (and the UN has an anonymous report corroborating China’s violations with evidence to back it up) it would be a serious breach of the UN’s security rules
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued its annual report on high tide (a.k.a. sunny day) flooding and found that high tide flooding happens twice as often as it did in 2000 due to sea-level rise. Nineteen cities and towns along the East and Gulf Coasts broke or tied their all-time high tide flooding […]
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