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Illegal Fisheries


What we are doing now

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Illegal Fisheries


What we are doing now

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understanding illegal fisheries in chile

With support from the Walton Family Foundation, ACS and Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile are working to understand the dynamics of illegal fishing in Chile. Working with SERNAPESCA, we are using survey instruments and expert elicitation approaches to help build a holistic understanding of the various types of activities connected to illegal fishing. Our current efforts are focused on exploring which seafood species are most involved with illegal activities, along with the different types of illegality and their organizational structure.

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Community-based Environmental Monitoring


Community-based Environmental Monitoring

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Community-based Environmental Monitoring


Community-based Environmental Monitoring

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improving Community-based environmental Monitoring

In southern Mexico, we are working with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and CONABIO (Comisión Nacional para el Conocimiento y Uso de la Biodiversidad) to understand the social dimensions influencing participation in environmental monitoring programs. Over the past decade, CONABIO has been managing community-based avian monitoring programs across several states in Mexico. Bird monitoring activities are based on the recruitment and voluntary participation of local communities.

Two major programs are promoting community-based bird monitoring in high biodiversity areas in Mexico: the Integrated Ecosystem Management Program and the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor Mexico. Individuals from local communities are trained as local monitors or regional coordinators, and conduct bird surveys using established protocols and the aVerAves open-access platform (i.e., a Mexican version of Ebird). The program has grown to include 22 monitoring groups and over 80 local monitors. Focused on the Yucatan and Veracruz, we are working with our partners to conduct survey-based research to better understand the motivations of individuals and the benefits they receive from participating in the the avian monitoring program.

 

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Impacts of Seafood Fraud


Impacts of Seafood Fraud

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Impacts of Seafood Fraud


Impacts of Seafood Fraud

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understanding the impacts of seafood fraud

As the world’s most highly traded commodity, seafood is an important protein source globally, contributing up to 50% of protein consumption in some countries. In developed countries, dietary guidelines encourage consumers to eat more seafood: the US Department of Agriculture, for instance, recommends that Americans increase their consumption to two servings a week.. Growing demand for seafood, combined with the depletion of marine resources, generates incentives for fraud within the seafood supply chain, which in turn can create a feedback mechanism impacting marine ecosystems, as well as seafood producers and consumers. While seafood fraud comes in a variety of forms, mislabeling—labeling one seafood product with a description of another—is perhaps the most concerning. A substitute product can masquerade as a target seafood product, with mislabeling occurring in three primary forms: species, provenance (i.e., geography), or mode of production (e.g., wild-caught versus aquaculture). Seafood mislabeling is suspected of having a suite of impacts, including economic losses, fishery stock impacts, and human health risks. It is also blamed for undermining seafood sustainability efforts and enabling illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, which is thought to make up 20-30% of US seafood imports. Yet, the biological and economic impacts of seafood fraud are speculative and anecdotal, with little connection to actual impact mechanisms and feedbacks occurring in the fisheries involved in fraud. 

With support from the Paul M. Angell Foundation, ACS is working with Resources for the Future to develop a systematic understanding of the global impact landscape of seafood fraud. We are combining theory with empirical data to understand the potential for seafood fraud to cause economic and biological impacts. Informed by our impact framework and synthesis, we are testing hypotheses around specific biological and economic impacts of seafood products involved in fraud that are of global importance. Understanding the mechanisms and feedbacks through which seafood fraud leads to economic and environmental impacts is a critical next step to designing new and improving current interventions to reduce it. Further, identifying the conditions under which seafood fraud is likely to have the greatest impact will help in prioritizing and cost-effectively targeting efforts. 

 

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Coastal Solutions Fellows Program


Coastal Solutions Fellows Program

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Coastal Solutions Fellows Program


Coastal Solutions Fellows Program

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designing a Coastal solutions fellows Program 

With Cornell University and the David & Lucile Packard Foundation, we are designing a fellowship program whose goal is help build capacity and promote new collaborations in Latin America focused on coastal solutions. The Program will do so by supporting a network of scientists, planners, and developers who are thinking and collaborating in new ways. Over the next decade, fellows will be challenged to develop new evidence-based approaches to improve the protection of shorebirds and their habitats in Latin America along the Pacific Americas Flyway.

 

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Seabird Bycatch on the High Seas


Seabird Bycatch on the High Seas

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Seabird Bycatch on the High Seas


Seabird Bycatch on the High Seas

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Assessing Seabird bycatch on the high seas  

The five "tuna" Regional Management Fisheries Organizations (tRFMOs) are charged with the management of over 90% of the world’s oceans. While the actual fishing is done by nation states, the tRFMOs have been established with international agreements in an attempt to regulate fishing efforts of migratory fish species in order to sustainably manage fishery stocks and the non-target species that are impacted by fishing efforts. Hundred of thousands of seabirds are killed annually in longline fisheries, contributing to the endangerment of many species. Working with the David & Lucile Packard Foundation, we are assessing the efforts of tRFMOs in reducing seabird bycatch by reviewing current tRFMO policies against current best practices. We are focused on three areas: seabird bycatch mitigation, observer programs, and compliance.  

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Small-scale Fisheries


Designing Market Solutions with Artisanal Fishing Communities for Economic Benefits and Marine Protection

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Small-scale Fisheries


Designing Market Solutions with Artisanal Fishing Communities for Economic Benefits and Marine Protection

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Designing Market Solutions with Artisanal Fishing Communities for Economic benefits and Marine Protection

No-take Marine Protected Areas (Nt-MPAs) are an important tool for biodiversity conservation. Nevertheless, evidence suggests that a large proportion of Nt-MPAs are not managed or enforced effectively. Further, governments and fishing communities are often resistant to the implementation and compliance of formal Nt-MPAs. Consequently, there is a need to increase the effectiveness of marine conservation by developing new approaches to biodiversity protection that promote fisher engagement and sustainable fishery practices.

ACS is using a place-based, human-centered approach to design a program that will have the necessary support and buy-in from local fishers to result in landscape-scale biodiversity benefits and novel cross-sector alliances.

Territorial User Rights for Fisheries, known as TURFs, are being promoted to enhance the sustainability of small-scale fisheries. Chile has one of the longest running TURF policies in the world. Many artisanal fishers are organized in formal cooperatives and are granted TURFs by the federal government: long-term tenure over a section of coast which they can harvest benthic invertebrates and other resources. With support from the Walton Family Foundation, ACS and partners (ShellcatchPontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, and Virginia Tech) are designing and piloting a new market model in Chile that provides measurable coastal biodiversity benefits while simultaneously providing economic benefits to fishing cooperatives. We are doing so by co-designing a program with artisanal fishers that compensates them for the opportunity costs forgone by setting aside a portion of their TURF as an enforced no-take zone. The outcome is a scalable program that provides a supplementary revenue stream to fishing cooperatives in exchange for management actions that produce verified biodiversity benefits and promote sustainable fisheries. ACS is using a place-based, human-centered approach to design a program that will have the necessary support and buy-in from local fishers to result in landscape-scale biodiversity benefits and novel cross-sector alliances.

Want to know more? Check out our short essay on Incentivizing biodiversity conservation in artisanal fishing communities through territorial user rights and business model innovation published in the journal Conservation Biology.

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Lesser Prairie Chicken


Lesser Prairie Chicken Initiative

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Lesser Prairie Chicken


Lesser Prairie Chicken Initiative

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understanding participation in the lesser prarie chicken initiative  

Since 2010, the Lesser Prairie Chicken Initiative has engaged US farmers and ranchers in pre-listing conservation that enhances Lesser Prairie Chicken habitat, while also promoting the sustainability of agricultural operations. The Program belongs to a family of voluntary conservation programs that focuses on at-risk species: species that are candidates for listing under the US Endangered Species Act. As such, participation is subject to landowners' perceptions of risk related to the threat of a species being protected by law. 

Landowner participation is critical to pre-listing conservation success for the Lesser Prairie Chicken because most habitat exists on private lands. All pre-listing programs face two major challenges: maintaining landowner participation at levels sufficient to ensure conservation benefits for the target species, and sufficient positive engagement with landowners so that they continue land management practices that reduce the risk of population decline when the program comes to an end. 

Working with Virginia Tech University, we are addressing three important questions related to the Lesser Prairie Chicken Initiative. First, what are the main motivations and drivers of program participation? Second, why do landowners leave the program? And lastly, how can the program be structured to increase participation by designing it to better align with the lives of farmers and ranchers?