Ocean Action Hub

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The world is off-track to meet most food and agriculture-related SDG - including fisheries

29 Jul 2019 - Overfishing and uneven implementation of international instruments for sustainable fisheries of concern, despite improvements in management.

29 Jul 2019 - Overfishing and uneven implementation of international instruments for sustainable fisheries of concern, despite improvements in management.

The world is off-track to meet most of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets linked to hunger, food security and nutrition, according to a FAO report released today.

"The report paints a grim picture. Four years into the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, regression is the norm when it comes to ending hunger and rendering agriculture and the management of natural resources - be that on land or in our oceans - sustainable," said Pietro Gennari, FAO Chief Statistician.

"Being off-track when it comes to reaching core pillars of the SDGs unquestionably puts at risk the achievement of the entire 2030 Agenda, and makes our overarching goal of ensuring an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable future for our planet and for present and future generations less attainable," said FAO Deputy Director-General for Climate and Natural Resources Maria Helena Semedo.

In the first report of its kind, FAO analysed, in a visual way, major global trends and data from up to 234 countries and territories on 18 indicators of four SDGs (2, 6, 14 and 15) under the UN agency's custodianship. (1)

Overfishing and uneven implementation of international instruments for sustainable fisheries of concern

One third of the world's marine fish stocks are overfished today, compared to only 10 percent in 1974.

The report notes that despite some recent improvements in fisheries management and stock status in developed countries, the proportion of stocks fished within biologically sustainable levels has decreased significantly in developing countries. 

Moreover, some 30 percent of countries still have a low or medium implementation record of the key international instruments combatting illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, and some 20 percent of countries have a low or medium implementation record of the key instruments to promote access of small-scale fishers to productive resources, services and markets.

What needs to be done to reverse worsening trends  

The report puts forward a number of recommendations aimed at reversing these worsening trends. First, many of the problems mentioned above would probably be less acute if there was sufficient investment in the agricultural sector (including fishery and forestry).

Promoting productivity growth and strengthening the resilience and adaptive capacity of small-scale food producers is also critical to reversing the trend of rising hunger and reducing the number of people living in extreme poverty, the report stresses.

Finally, all countries need to urgently implement transformational changes in fishery management and governance. This would also have a positive economic impact: overall, rebuilding overfished stocks could increase annual fishery production by 16.5 million tonnes and annual revenues from fishing by $32 billion.

(1) FAO is the designated custodian agency for 21 SDG indicators in total, and data is currently available for 18 of these.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/1202226/icode/

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FAO Working for SDG14

21 Jun 2019 - This booklet shines a light on FAO’s work with countries and partners across the globe to ensure our oceans, seas and marine resources are used sustainably for the benefit of

21 Jun 2019 - This booklet shines a light on FAO’s work with countries and partners across the globe to ensure our oceans, seas and marine resources are used sustainably for the benefit of present and future generations.

Healthy oceans and seas are more important than ever. They support people's livelihoods and whole communities across the globe, providing nutritious food, employment and potential for prosperity.

Oceans and seas cover more than 70 percent of our planet’s surface, provide half of the world’s oxygen, sequester carbon, and serve as home to 80 percent of life on earth.

SDG 14, Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development, is a major goal of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which commits the international community to act to surmount the key challenges facing our planet and all those who live on it.

A focus on SDG 14 will be crucial to protecting marine resources, and the important role they play in human well-being and social and economic development worldwide.

Through monitoring, instruments, both binding and non-binding, and other activities, FAO is working with countries to achieve SDG 14 objectives, addressing linkages with other targets of the 2030 Agenda and ensuring sustainable development in all three dimensions.

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#BlueFashion: From Lake Turkana to the runway

29 Nov 2018 - UN FAO - Promoting a sustainable blue economy to support livelihoods in Kenya

29 Nov 2018 - UN FAO - Tucked away in Kenya’s northernmost region along the border with Ethiopia sits Lake Turkana, the world’s largest desert lake. Poverty is widespread in this area. Infrastructure is almost non-existent; only sandy, unpaved roads breach these limits, but even for trucks, it is a challenging feat.  

The region’s isolation, however, means something different for Lake Turkana and its fish. Both remain relatively underutilized. Rural people and nomadic communities here have suffered the impacts of longer dry seasons and other changes in climate. They have now turned to the lake to support themselves and have begun to fish for Nile perch, a lake fish that can grow up to six feet long. Once caught, the fish is usually fileted and transported to Kitale, where it is processed and shipped around the country and abroad.

Because the fish is fileted, the skin is largely unused or sold for little value as fertilizer or animal feed. In general, 30-70 percent of a fish is wasted; its parts, like the head, viscera and backbones, are often undervalued, even if they are high in micronutrients.

Fish skin is gaining recognition as an interesting source of leather. It has several advantages: offers unique natural pattern, absorbs colours well and is lighter, yet more durable than cow leather. The additional products also add value to the catch, offering higher prices to the fishers and creating alternative local employment for the community, especially to women and youth. ©FAO/Luis Tato

But some companies, like Victorian Foods and other initiatives, are starting to find use for one of these by-products: the skin. Fish skin is gaining recognition as an interesting source of leather. Though fish leather is relatively new to the market, it offers several advantages. Each fish skin has a unique natural pattern, and perch skin, for example, absorbs colours extremely well. The resulting material is also far lighter than, for example, cow leather.

In addition, the large size of the Nile perch means that the skins have wider surface areas compared to most other fish skins. The alignment of the perch leather (crisscrossed instead of parallel) also means that the resulting material is the second strongest type of leather and clothing and accessories made from it are unique and extremely durable.

In the factory in Kitale, skilled workers are now fileting the fish in a way that best preserves the skin. These workers, known as “skinners”, have become highly skilled at their jobs. In order to preserve their natural look in the tanning processed, the skins must be removed correctly.

Once the skinners have done their work, the fish skin  is then washed and drained before going through the various stages – liming, fleshing, de-liming, bating, degreasing and pickling. Afterwards, the tanning process begins to convert the fish skin into leather. Next comes dyeing and finishing.

The additional products made from locally caught fish adds value to the catch, offering higher prices to the fishers and creates alternative local employment for the community. The goal at Victorian Foods is to ensure that 60 percent of those working on creating fish leather are local women and youth, two demographic groups for which unemployment is high.

“I can see a huge potential in this, considering the fact that in East Africa alone we have several freshwater lakes because of the Rift Valley. Lake Victoria is quite big, being shared among three countries. Turkana is also quite big, so I see a huge potential in Kenya and the neighboring countries,” states CEO of Victorian Foods in Kitale, James Ambani.

CONTINUE READING ONLINE HERE: http://www.fao.org/fao-stories/article/en/c/1171688/

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Impacts of climate change on fisheries and aquaculture: Synthesis of current knowledge, adaptation and mitigation options

10 July 2018 - A unique overview of the implications of climate change for fisheries and aquaculture, and for the millions of people who depend on these sectors for their livelihoods, this

publication maps out solutions for climate change adaptation and mitigation around the globe.

The technical paper “Impacts of climate change on fisheries and aquaculture - Synthesis of current knowledge, adaptation and mitigation options” has been prepared by over 90 scientists from over 20 countries with a view to assisting countries in the development of their National Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the Paris Climate Agreement, the next round of which is to be submitted by 2020, both for adaptation and mitigation actions.

The publication contextualizes the topic of climate change in fisheries and aquaculture in terms of poverty alleviation and the implementation of existing policy commitments, such as UN Agenda 2030 and the Paris Climate Agreement, and takes into account current and expected socio-economic dependencies on the sector. It includes marine and inland capture fisheries, as well as aquaculture, recognizing that the level of evidence and responses at global, regional and national scales will differ between sub-sectors.

Finally, the report is a reminder of the critical importance of fisheries and aquaculture for millions of people struggling to maintain reasonable livelihoods through the sector. These are the people who are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, and particular attention needs to be given to them while designing adaptation measures if the sector is to continue to contribute to meeting global goals of poverty reduction and food security.

READ MORE: 
Executive summary

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Countries reach milestone agreement on international guidelines to mark fishing gear

9 Feb 2017 -  Major step forward towards cleaner seas and safer navigation

9 February 2018, Rome - In a historic decision, countries today agreed on a set of draft Voluntary Guidelines on Marking Fishing Gear taking a big step forward towards cleaner seas and safer navigation. It is expected that the guidelines will receive final endorsement by FAO's Committee on Fisheries (COFI) in July 2018.

Made predominantly of plastic, fishing gear, when abandoned, lost or discarded at sea, is a significant component of marine debris and has been a concern of FAO Members for decades. Approximately eight million tonnes of plastic litter, up to ten percent of which is estimated to come from the fisheries sector, ends up in our oceans every year.

These guidelines will help countries to develop effective systems for marking fishing gear so that it can be traced back to its original owner. Doing so will support efforts to reduce marine debris and its harmful impacts on the marine environment, fish stocks, and safe navigation. It will also allow local authorities to monitor how fishing gear is being used in their waters and who is using it, which makes them an efficient tool in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

"Appropriate marking is an effective tool for improving overall fishing gear management, preventing abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear, facilitating its retrieval and potentially identifying illegal fishing operations", said Árni M. Mathiesen, FAO Assistant Director-General for Fisheries. 

Unacceptable levels of plastics in oceans

Fishing gear is often lost through uncontrollable circumstances - such as storms or accidents  - or because there are no adequate facilities at ports for the reception of fishing gear. However, sometimes fishing gear is also dumped by vessels engaged in illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in the hope of evading detection.

Over time, fishing nets left in the ocean may break down into microplastic pieces, which become accessible to a wide range of organisms including small fish and plankton, and may cause serious toxicological harm to marine wildlife.

Considering the unacceptable levels of fishing gear debris in oceans, the global fishing industry and governments have recognized the urgency to address the issue across all relevant sectors, including the environment, fishery management and regulation.

Dangerous fishing nets

Abandoned, lost or discarded gear can continue to "ghost fish" even when it is no longer under the control of humans. This can have serious detrimental impacts on fish and other marine organisms that become entangled in these nets, often unable to escape.

Ghost gear poses serious safety concerns to navigation too. Recent studies in the Republic of Korea indicate increased incidences of ships' propellers becoming entangled in abandoned fishing gear. Some of these incidents have led to serious accidents, including the capsizing of a passenger ship where 292 people lost their lives.

Building capacity to meet new standards

The Guidelines are global in scope, but countries recognize that making them work for small-scale fisheries in developing countries will require additional support to meet the new standards. For example, ports in many countries still do not include reception facilities for disposing of fishing gear. In other cases, where port reception facilities exist they are not free of charge and small-scale fisheries cannot afford using them.

Modern technologies such as satellite buoys or GPS receivers make it easier to detect the lost fishing gear but it could be too expensive for the majority of small-scale fisheries to remove them.

The guidelines make it clear that the level of complexity of the gear marking should be based upon local conditions and needs. FAO has already started a number of pilot projects to address these issues.

READ MORE: http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/1099767/icode/

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FAO Blue Growth Blog: Half-way through #SaveourOcean Conference

7 Jun 2017 - Wednesday marked the half-way point to the week dedicated to oceans in New York, at the UN Ocean Conference (#SaveourOcean).

FAO has been active at this important event throughout the week. If you’re not in New York for the event (and even if you are, but simply can’t keep up with the 100+ events taking place this week), you can see our wrap-ups of Day 1 and Day 2.

Plenary sessions on Wednesday focused largely upon commitments to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, the issue of fisheries subsidies, and how to build sustainable fisheries.

The morning’s session on Partnership Dialogue 4 – ‘Making fisheries sustainable’ was an issue close to FAO’s heart. Partnership Dialogue 4 was co-chaired by Dominic LeBlanc, Canada’s Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Coast Guard and Senegal’s Oumar Guèye, Minister of Fisheries and Maritime Economy.

The session was moderated by Tony Long, Director of the Ending Illegal Fishing Project of The Pew Charitable Trusts. FAO’s Assistant Director-General, Fisheries and Aquaculture Árni M. Mathiesen spoke from the podium about the central nature of sustainable fisheries in all of FAO’s work. He informed participants that total fisheries production today is 170 million metric tonnes, with 95 million metric tonnes of that figure derived from capture fisheries. He also noted that approximately one-third of fish stocks are overfished, at biologically unsustainable levels.

He pointed attention to three major challenges, currently under discussion at the week-long Conference:

  1. Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
  2. Difficult management of shared, straddling and migrating stocks on the high-seas as well as in coastal sovereign waters.
  3. Improving the status of fisheries in coastal communities in developing countries including SIDS. These are mostly small-scale fisheries and those concerned make up over 90% the people involved in the fishing industry globally.
Partnership Dialogue 4 included interesting global and country perspectives on how to ensure sustainable fisheries.

Speaking about illegal fishing, Mathiesen noted that significant progress has been made in recent years. ”I am convinced that IUU fishing can be solved with our present instruments, the Port State Measure Agreement, Catch Documentation Schemes, and the Global Record for fishing vessels, complemented by some of the initiatives that have been presented here this week, like the Tuna Transparency Declaration. We are closer than ever to ending IUU fishing, if we put our minds and resources to it.”

Mathiesen also spoke about the regional management bodies – the Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) – that are crucial players in ending IUU fishing and improving fisheries management around the globe. “If the RFMOs would get the political, scientific and financial resource support that they need, they could serve us more broadly and effectively. It is as if we forgot that a system like that needs resources, fuel to run on, in order to work most productively.”

During the session, a film about the FAO Port State Measures Agreement, now in effect for one year, was  shown in the hall and introduced by Senegal’s Minister Guèye. The film has been updated to include the current 48 parties to the Agreement, with the 28 member countries of the European Union counting as a single party. Slowly but surely, the network of countries committing themselves to ending illegal fishing in their waters becomes ever wider:

Contine reading: http://www.fao.org/blogs/blue-growth-blog/half-way-through-saveourocean-...

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UNFAO headquarters in Rome lights up in blue to mark World Oceans Day

8 Jun 2017 - FAO is illuminating its Rome headquarters in blue at sunset today as part of a World Oceans Day campaign to raise awareness of the critical role played by the world's mar

ine resources in combating, hunger, poverty and in ensuring sustainable development.

World Oceans Day this year coincides with the United Nations Ocean Conference which aims to support the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14 on ensuring the health of the world's oceans and seas.

These bodies of water host 80 percent of all biodiversity, provide food, nutrients, and as fish are among the most widely traded food commodities, provide important sources of income. Yet the world's oceans and seas are under great pressure, not least with overexploitation, illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, marine pollution and ocean acidification.

FAO experts are involved or leading several of the Ocean Conference's Partnership Dialogues and side-events. These include topics such as: Making fisheries sustainable; Increasing economic benefits to Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries and providing access for small-scale artisanal farmers to marine resources and markets; and, Implementation and Application of the Port State Measures Agreement to Prevent, Deter, and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing.

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A touch of Norway off the shores of Morocco

18 May 2017 - Norway’s National Day provided a cross-cultural celebration, as Moroccan and Norwegian scientists enjoyed this Nordic holiday under north-west Africa's blue skies.

18 May 2017 - Norway’s National Day, or Grunnlovsdagen, is celebrated every year on 17 May. It dates back to 1814 when Norway’s Constitution was signed, declaring Norway an independent kingdom.

In Norway, men, women and children celebrate their national holiday wearing traditional, colourful wool outfits, called bunad. This year’s celebrations in Oslo took place under cool and slightly rainy skies.

Yesterday, 4000 kilometers south of Oslo, off the sunny and more tropical shores of Morocco, National Day celebrations took place on board the Nansen.

The Norwegian crew and Norwegian and Moroccan scientists aboard the marine research vessel enjoyed the first national Norwegian celebrations held on the new vessel, albeit without the heavy woollen traditional outfits and with far more sunshine than what was found that day in the homeland celebrations.

The Nansen celebrations mirrored Norwegian traditions, with lots of Norwegian flags and a makeshift parade around the ship.

Cruise leader Reidar Toreson of Norway’s Institute of Marine Research made the celebratory speech to the gathering.

Celebrations continued in the new vessel’s attractive and Scandinavian-inspired mess hall, where Chief Steward Robert cooked up a Norwegian feast, in keeping with what provisions would allow for on such long-haul voyages. Perhaps Norwegian-Moroccan fusion dishes might be an option for future celebrations?

All in all, an excellent opportunity for cross-cultural celebrations, and the Moroccan and Norwegian scientists enjoyed celebrating this Nordic holiday together under the bright sun and drizzle-free blue skies of Northwestern Africa.

A very happy Grunnlovsdagen to the entire crew and Nansen scientists. Best wishes, too, to the Nansen’s its first celebration of 17 May, and wishing it a long life of many future celebrations on the horizon! CONTINUE READING HERE: http://www.fao.org/in-action/eaf-nansen/blog/a-touch-of-norway-off-the-shores-of-morocco/en/

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Putting those shiny new labs to use on the Nansen

12 May 2017 - The voyage began in Casablanca and continues along the Moroccan coast studying and classifying fish - from shallow water to 500 meter-depth.

12 May 2017 - It’s always nice to be the first, as the scientists aboard the Nansen are quickly discovering. But those shiny, new laboratories may not remain that way for long after long shifts working to study and classify the fish.

Pelagic fish expert Merete Kvalsund of Norway’s Institute of Marine Research (IMR) reports to us that the first days of the survey voyage are going well. Scientists and crew have eased into their shifts that guarantee 24-hour coverage. 

Each team of scientists and crew work a series of three eight-hour shifts in a twenty-four hour period.

In such intense first days on board, the teams set up smooth work rhythms, and learn to work together to handle the busy periods.

This first leg of the voyage began in Casablanca and will continue along the coast of Morocco.  

Sampling of the pelagic ecosystem is taking place - ranging from shallow water to 500 meter-depth. 

We’ll let the scientists and crew ease into their shift patterns – even more important on the new Nansen’s maiden voyage – before they report more to use about their daily work and impressions on life on board the new Nansen.

Wishing them a successful start to the survey voyage, and many productive hours in the fish lab! Continue reading here: http://www.fao.org/in-action/eaf-nansen/blog/putting-those-shiny-new-labs-to-use-on-the-nansen/en/

Watch the video: http://www.oceanactionhub.org/anchors-aweigh-new-nansen-research-vessel-sets-sail

Le nouveau navire de recherche océanique Nansen est mis à flot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agvsvT5w-4Y

سفينة الأبحاث الجديدة نانسن تبحر https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d19PjHYdnR

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Anchors aweigh! The new Nansen research vessel sets sail

24 Mar 2017 - The only vessel in the world to fly the UN flag, the Nansen will set sail to address climate change and work towards achieving SDG 14.

24 Mar 2017 - The third ship launched in a unique partnership between Norway and FAO. A state of the art research vessel that will collect and analyze data in the ship's laboratories using sophisticated technologies to help coastal developing countries manage their fisheries and protect marine environments. The only vessel in the world to fly the UN flag, the Nansen will set sail to address climate change and work towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG 14). Read more about the Nansen's maiden research voyage in north-west and west Africa: In Casablanca, the new Nansen celebrates its first research voyage

Le nouveau navire de recherche océanique Nansen est mis à flot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agvsvT5w-4Y

سفينة الأبحاث الجديدة نانسن تبحر https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d19PjHYdnRw

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