EDF, WWF & Blue Food Assessment launch Portraits of Change at UN Ocean Conference

New video series highlights how policymakers can support small-scale fisheries & aquaculture

June 27, 2022
Tad Segal, (202) 572-3549, tsegal@edf.org

(WASHINGTON – Jun. 27, 2022) In recognition of the critical work ahead at the UN Ocean Conference, Environmental Defense Fund, WWF and the Blue Food Assessment launched a video series today to call on governments, civil society and the private sector to fully recognize the diversity of small-scale actors, the crucial role they play in global food security and the contribution they make to livelihoods and economies around the globe. Decision-makers must support small-scale actors and their networks by implementing strategies and policies for protecting biodiversity and establishing the true value of aquatic foods for nutrition, food security, livelihoods and ocean health.

Portraits of Change is a video series featuring small-scale fishers and fishworkers on the front lines of climate change who contribute significantly to global food security, livelihoods, local economies and coastal resilience. The videos are individual accounts by community champions whose lives are dedicated to addressing the ocean, food and climate crises. By adopting locally led solutions to produce equitable and nature-positive blue foods, these fishers and fishworkers are working to ensure a sustainable future for coastal communities, and their stories touch on many of the pillars of the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture and the Sustainable Development Goals.

“As the world convenes to tackle the critical ocean issues of climate change, overfishing and marine conservation, this video series introduces us to some of those most affected by the climate crisis and changing oceans. Their ingenuity in the face of adversity inspires us to work harder to seek effective, locally designed and inclusive solutions to these critical challenges,” said Eric Schwaab, senior vice president for People and Nature at EDF. “Prioritizing community engagement, justice and equity for small-scale fishers and fishworkers will ensure stronger and more durable solutions that meet both conservation and biodiversity goals.”

“Small-scale fishers represent more than 90% of the fisheries workforce in developing countries but face persisting challenges of marginalization, vulnerability and poor living and working conditions. Operating inland and at sea, they contribute to nutritious food, income, jobs and the identity of millions of coastal and rural communities around the globe. These videos showcase that small-scale fishers can be effective coastal stewards where they choose to be and that we are all responsible for empowering them to lead on the solutions that bridge traditional knowledge and science. Only through those solutions and enabling policies will we catalyze the global shift needed to secure ocean health and human prosperity,” says Maria Honig, WWF’s Accelerating Coastal Community Led Conservation Initiative lead. 

This series demonstrates the importance of small-scale fishers and fishworkers to achieving sustainable food systems and the necessity of implementing the small-scale fisheries guidelines to ensure equitable and sustainable fisheries management. During and after the UN Ocean Conference, EDF, WWF and the Blue Food Assessment will continue to highlight the importance of small-scale fishers and fishworkers in building a healthy, sustainable future for people and the planet.

“Policymakers, civil society leaders and the private sector need to fully recognize the diversity of small-scale actors, the crucial roles they play in our global food system and their vital contribution to food security, especially in the face of shocks like COVID-19. This video series highlights the resilience and ingenuity of small-scale actors in the face of increasing challenges due to climate change, overfishing and biodiversity loss,” says Jim Leape of the Blue Food Assessment and the Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions. “Policymakers need to actively empower small-scale actors in blue food governance.”

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One of the world’s leading international nonprofit organizations, Environmental Defense Fund (edf.org) creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. To do so, EDF links science, economics, law, and innovative private-sector partnerships. With more than 3 million members and offices in the United States, China, Mexico, Indonesia and the European Union, EDF’s scientists, economists, attorneys and policy experts are working in 28 countries to turn our solutions into action. Connect with us on Twitter @EnvDefenseFund

WWF is an independent conservation organization with over 30 million followers and a global network active in nearly 100 countries. Our mission is to stop the degradation of the planet’s natural environment and to build a future in which people live in harmony with nature by conserving the world’s biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. wwf.panda.org twitter.com/wwf

The Blue Food Assessment brings together over 100 scientists from more than 25 institutions around the world. The Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University and Stanford University’s Center for Ocean Solutions and Center on Food Security and the Environment are lead science partners and EAT is the lead impact partner. This interdisciplinary team supports decision-makers in evaluating opportunities, tradeoffs and implementing solutions to build healthy, equitable and sustainable food systems.