Today, I had the pleasure of joining His Royal Highness Prince of Wales, fishery leaders from governments around the world, conservation leaders and managers of major investment institutions at a gathering hosted by the prince to discuss ways to finance a transition to a sustainable blue economy.
During the gathering, Environmental Defense Fund and the prince’s International Sustainability Unit unveiled a new and innovative guide to accelerate investment in fishermen and fish-dependent business worldwide. The guide was developed by EDF and the ISU in collaboration with 50in10.
The good news is, we already know how to manage our fisheries sustainably and provide economic benefit for the communities that depend on them. What we lack is the appropriate level of investment to match the scale and pace of the challenge in front of us.
We hope this guide – or framework – will galvanize and channel funding from philanthropies, government and private investors. That has been a critically important missing link as we try to transition to a blue economy.
We also hope it will establish a common language for governments, philanthropists and private investors to work together on the critical mission to turn around our oceans.
Oceans need our help
It is hard to exaggerate the stakes.
Overfishing is one of the most urgent problems threatening the ocean today and it’s the single leading cause of depleted fisheries worldwide. It affects 3 billion people around the globe who depend on the ocean as an important source of protein and millions who depend on it for their livelihood.
Our new framework provides a set of tools for designing sustainable fisheries projects in a way that will attract investment from government, philanthropic and private investors – giving fishermen, communities, and small businesses the support they need to transition to sustainability.
By assembling the skills, knowledge and resources of government, philanthropic, and private investors, we will allow fishing communities to see a future with more fish in the sea, more food on the plate, and more economic prosperity.
The World Bank has estimated that some $50 billion dollars’ worth of additional value could be derived from the world’s fisheries each year, if they were managed in more sustainable ways.
The potential is enormous. But success requires working together.
We know what works
More and more countries are adopting new, smarter management for their fisheries and it’s paying off with more fish in the sea and more prosperous fishing communities.
- In Belize, smart policies have been put in place where fishermen are policing themselves more and fishing violations have dropped by 60 percent in some regions.
- Reforms in Namibia’s fisheries have increased value and strengthened local control of fisheries resources, while improving sustainability.
- And in the United States, we have seen an increase in fish populations since 2009, while fishing industry jobs have risen 23 percent and fishermen revenues are up 30 percent.
These real-world examples prove that fisheries can recover. We just need the capital and coordination to make it happen.
By bringing our new framework to scale around the globe, we will transform our oceans into a sustainable, enduring resource for generations to come.
EDF believes that government, private, and philanthropic investors play key roles in putting the right solutions in place that will transition our economy to blue.
That’s why today, as we unveil this new framework, EDF is calling on governments to establish policies that support sustainable, profitable fisheries, and on investors to support sustainably managed fisheries.
I believe that if we put our minds to it, we can create significant change in our lifetime.