Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Partnership in Portugal to secure small-scale fishing livelihoods.

Environmental Defense Fund Europe will be joining forces with new philanthropic institution the Oceano Azul Foundation for a programme of work centred on artisanal fisheries in Portugal. The partnership was announced by José Soares dos Santos, President of the Oceano Azul Foundation, as part of a panel presentation at the global Our Ocean Conference in Malta on the 6th October. The project represents a new geography for Environmental Defense Fund's work across Europe, supporting sustainable fisheries in collaboration with fishing communities, governments and other stakeholders.

Commenting on the announcement of the partnership, dos Santos said that "economic and social sustainability depends more than ever on the sustainability of the marine environment".

This sentiment was echoed by Jessica Landman, Senior Director for Oceans, Europe: "At Environmental Defense Fund we work towards three goals: more food on the plate, more fish in the sea, and thriving coastal communities. It's a real pleasure to be partnering with the Oceano Azul Foundation in working towards these objectives for small-scale fisheries in Portugal: a nation of ocean-goers and seafood-enthusiasts. Together we recognise the importance of social, economic and environmental sustainability delivered hand-in-hand, and the vital need for communities to have a voice in how fisheries are managed. Watch this space!"

The first order of business for the partners will be to investigate where best to launch a pilot project to implement community-led, science-based co-management in Portuguese coastal fisheries. Environmental Defense Fund will be bringing to bear experience garnered from a long-term partnership with WWF Spain, where half a dozen or more analogous projects have been rooted in local fishing communities. Many of the tools to be applied in these fisheries - from data collection to the design of management using secure fishing rights to incentivise conservation - have been developed by the organisation's dedicated 'Fishery Solution Centre'. EDF’s Acting Iberian Peninsula Manager, Miguel Gomez, commented: "We know we have the right tools for the job - and we're looking forward to applying and adapting what we've learnt in Spain with the team in Portugal."

As part of an array of announcements for the new foundation, Oceano Azul also shared plans for a EUR 1,000,000 project, in conjunction with the Waitt Foundation, to develop a network of protected areas in the Azores, and to to donate EUR 100,000 annually to the ECOMARE Marine Animal Rehabilitation Centre.