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Cassandra Nguyen

About Fair Fish

We need your help now to make fair fishery management a reality in the U.S.
The fish in ocean waters* surrounding the U.S. belong to all of us equally and are part of the ocean commons; a living public trust asset passed from one generation to the next. This means that everyone in the U.S. has the privilege to enjoy our fish – whether you fish for them, swim with them, or just like to know they are out there.

Most of us have heard that there aren’t as many fish in our oceans to share as there once were. With continued demand for seafood, our government is trying to figure out how to conserve and manage the fish that we do have – fairly. Unfortunately, the latest proposed way to regulate our fish, called “catch shares” but more accurately referred to as “catch-and-trade schemes,” is essentially an outdated privatization approach. The government sets a limit on how many fish can be taken at a time, then tells each fisherman how much of that limit he/she is personally allowed to catch, if any.

If privatized catch-and-trade systems become our primary fishery management tool, the results will be similar to when family-run agriculture became massive industrial agribusiness: traditional fishermen – and their crews – will be forced out of work, economies of related communities will crumble, there will be increased risk of ecological harm to our oceans and consumers will likely end up with more industrially produced seafood on their plates.

There is an alternate vision: FAIR FISH.

  • Fair Fish means a more sustainable and local wild fish economy, where the public will maintain control of it own fish resources
  • An allocation process will favor smaller-scale, more environmentally friendly, community-based fishermen
  • These fishermen will grow the value of their catch by supplying the market with local quality seafood; and
  • Revenue generated from the use of our fish will help to fund better fishery management and habitat restoration to keep our natural resources productive for the long-term.

* In the U.S., coastal states manage the waters and most of the wildlife in them from the shore out to about 3 miles. The federal government is responsible for ocean areas (and wildlife in them from 3 to 200 miles from shore. This is known as the exclusive economic zone, in which activities like fishing can be limited to the United States. (Off Texas and the west coast of Florida, state waters extend out to about 9 miles.)

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