Partnership and collective understanding will set the course for Global Fishing Watch’s work aheadAnd so ends another year—a year that many are perhaps eager to close out. I think it’s fair to say that none of us imagined 2020 would have panned out like this. Twelve months ago we were all preparing for a super year for the ocean, but the outbreak of COVID-19 changed the world and brought the cancelation of nearly every event this past year, while others were postponed or moved to virtual platforms. The pandemic has taken its toll on our healthcare systems and vulnerable populations, and it has caused a dramatic disruption in the global economy; we have seen the impact it’s had on global fishing efforts and are keenly aware of the burden it placed on coastal communities. But this experience also shows us how important it is that we keep working toward a sustainable future—a post-COVID world that is more resilient, more sustainable, and more equitable. With so much of the world on lockdown during the majority of the year, Global Fishing Watch was keen to focus its efforts on the impacts it could make from afar.
Reflecting on 2020Stewardship of the ocean, and its resources, transcends exclusive economic zones, making protection not simply a national or regional matter. After nearly 35 years working in the maritime community, one thing is evident to me: effective governance of the ocean cannot happen without international cooperation. As a North Star, we turned to recommendations from the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy. Made up of 14 world leaders, the Ocean Panel is tasked with building momentum towards the effective protection, sustainable production, and equitable prosperity of the ocean. Their message is clear: we must bring collective understanding and knowledge of ocean sustainability to ensure that science is underpinning future decision-making. I had the privilege of co-authoring a blue paper in support of the Ocean Panel, on the drivers of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, which identified three urgent actions:
- Adopt global transparency in fisheries
- Enact tighter controls in ports
- Enhance collaboration