Program for Sustainable Fishing in Latin America
Rare is training and mentoring nine Rare Conservation Fellows and eight fisheries experts in Guadalajara to implement campaigns focused on reducing overfishing throughout Latin America.
Plenty of fishermen on the seas
Replenishing fish supplies in the Mesoamerican Reef, Gulf of California and the Galapagos
It’s so simple. Protect marine areas and the diversity, size and abundance of fish increase dramatically. Fish and people live healthier and wealthier lives. And yet in the last few decades rampant overfishing has led to a rapid depletion of marine wildlife. The first step needed to reverse this destruction is community awareness, so Rare is uniquely positioned to address the global fisheries crisis. Fishermen typically protest the idea of closing any part of the waters in which they feel entitled to catches. But with some basic education about the self-healing properties of the sea and how conservation leads to financial and nutritional security, attitudes quickly change.
The people who depend on the ocean’s riches need to be anchored in every step of the process of its protection. Rare has already charted successes through its work with community fisheries throughout Southeast Asia, Madagascar and Fiji. Rare will soon select a new group of community leaders to establish awareness campaigns and marine management expertise in the Gulf of California, the Mesoamerican Reef and the Galapagos. The scalability of these projects is virtually limitless. The problem of overfishing is ubiquitous and the relatively simple solution of establishing areas where fishing is prohibited – a fishery replenishment zone (FRZ) – works anywhere.
Within the span of a few years, a FRZ allows predators and large fish to grow to maturity and the entire food chain multiplies and spills out into commercial fishing areas. Remarkably, new science is reversing commonly held beliefs about what a pristine marine ecosystem looks like. We now know that the terrestrial food pyramid of few predators at the top and abundant prey at the bottom is actually inverted once underwater. And marine ecosystems recover relatively quickly.
Global marine experts estimate that if 20 percent of the oceans were preserved, a sustainable and sufficient supply of fish could be maintained. Currently, we protect less than one percent of the world’s waters. Overfishing threatens the unique marine life in the trenches of the Gulf of California, the second largest reef system in the world known as the Mesoamerican reef and the famous biodiversity of the Galapagos Islands. Through these new programs Rare will help build the capacity of the oceans as well as the people who rely on fishing and ultimately contribute to the incremental climb towards the global goal of protecting a fifth of the world’s waters.
This cohort is generously supported by a group of leading marine foundations, including: