New Commitments Made to Improve Fisheries Globally

If fisheries are continue to be productive and sustainable, changes and commitments must be made at every level. Photo by George F. Mobley/NGS.


In the inspiring setting of Monterey, California, key innovators met to address real issues confronting global fisheries. Last week National Geographic convened over 30 innovators to identify key areas to focus collective, collaborative action and to make specific action-oriented commitments for progress. Participants came from as far away as Tasmania, Mexico, Chile and Indonesia; represented organizations working in international conservation, philanthropy, venture capital, emerging technology; and were fishermen, entrepreneurs, investors, NGOs, funders, and academics.


The group identified three key action items:

  1. Stop illegal fishing through traceability and transparency;
  2. Strengthen local and national governance for supporting fisheries reform; and
  3. Create a role for private finance to drive sustainable fisheries.


Concrete and strategic commitments were made by the focus groups and individuals, which add real value to existing marine conservation efforts. While commitments by individuals remain confidential at this point, they aim to tackle three key action items previously noted:

1) Attracting capital. The finance and investment group committed to bring together innovative fishers, investing institutions, and seafood companies that wish to drive sustainability with socially responsible venture capital and other forms of funding.  This initiative has the potential to exponentially increase the amount of money being invested in sustainable fishing around the world.

2) Governance. The governance group is working to convene a meeting between the President of the World Bank and the heads of major philanthropic foundations to present the results of the recently completed study called “Fishing for Solutions,” which builds a case for why the Bank needs to invest millions more in the much-needed governance reforms to support ocean restoration and fisheries recovery in the developing world.

3) Traceability. With the vast majority of all seafood sold in the US and Europe coming from international sources, the third group agreed to develop an integrated campaign (consumer, industry, policy-maker) to establish rigorous traceability and transparency standards that will essentially end the industrial trade of illegal fish that have made their way onto the US and European plates for far too long.

A similar meeting will be hosted by National Geographic next week in Washington, D.C. around oceanic marine protected areas (MPAs) – priority areas and how to enforce the protections in place.  Stay tuned for progress updates and the leading individuals and organizations behind these efforts!

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Meet the Author
Valerie Craig is Deputy to the Chief Scientist and Vice President of Operating Programs for National Geographic Society. She has strategic and operational oversight for the series of flagship programs and projects that are helping to achieve the Society's ambitious targets to deliver on the vision. She previously worked on ocean and freshwater issues for National Geographic's Impact Initiatives and Explorer Programs and oversaw the Lindblad-National Geographic Fund. Prior to joining NGS in May 2011, Valerie led TRAFFIC North America’s marine fisheries trade work, focusing on issues of legality and traceability in the seafood supply chain. Valerie earned a Master's of Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and has a Bachelor’s in International Relations.