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

(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 sustainable solutions that meet both conservation and biodiversity goals.”

“Small-scale fishers represent more than 90% of the fisheries workforce in developing countries but face persistent 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 fishermen 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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