From Ruin to Resilience: Supporting Global Fisheries’ Sustainability amid Pandemic
April 14, 2021
Marine fisheries generate a critical protein source for more than a billion people worldwide, and an often irreplaceable source of income for developing-world communities exporting to international markets. Yet poor fisheries management frequently results in habitat destruction and overfishing, depleting stocks and steadily raising the costs to land each kilogram of fish. The need for a new paradigm for global fisheries management and trade—built on science-based catch limits and basic labor standards for all industry participants—was urgent before the Covid-19 pandemic. Today the situation is even more dire. As a result of the pandemic and stringent public health measures, small-scale…
Sustainable Fisheries Fund
Since 2002, the Sustainable Fisheries Fund (SFF) has provided match funding for small-scale and under-resourced fisheries to work toward sustainability through seafood certifications, including the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standard, Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs), and most recently, the Fair Trade capture fisheries standard. SFF has supported work toward MSC certification for more than 55 fisheries, 33 FIPs that have received a grade of B or higher on FisheryProgress.org, and three Fair Trade-certified fisheries. SFF grants build technical capacity within small-scale fisheries and leverage industry investments in sustainable fishing. In coordination with our partners, RLF regularly updates SFF program criteria to keep pace with the changing landscape of sustainable seafood.
Northwest Mexico Land Conservation
Since 2008, under this program RLF implements a coordinated, adaptive framework to concentrate conservation investments in coastal priority areas on the Baja California Peninsula, systematically preserve the landscape integrity of the region, and prevent further fragmentation of coastal and marine habitats. RLF undertakes a multi-faceted approach to its work in Northwest Mexico, including land protection, capacity building, policy, and communications activities. RLF also coordinates with other grant makers and grantee networks to create synergies that multiply the impact of individual projects.
Ocean Defense Initiative
Ocean Defense Initiative works to strengthen ocean conservation leadership and raise the profile of the ocean climate nexus among decisionmakers and the public. The project supports policies that would leverage the ocean as a source of climate solutions, benefit ocean wildlife, protect ocean ecosystem health, and ensure the sustainable use of the ocean and its resources in a changing climate.
National Ocean Protection Coalition
Launched in 2018 to lead a coalition of more than 40 ocean-focused organizations defending America’s most treasured ocean places. The organization provides leadership, strategy, and coordination to a national marine monument defense campaign and is laying the groundwork to regain and expand marine protections.
Federal Fisheries Policy Coalition
Established in 2015, the project is a coalition of national ocean fish conservation organizations working in close coordination to preserve and, where possible, advance conservation gains in U.S. marine fisheries policy and management. Project priorities include ecosystem-based fisheries management and promoting climate-ready fisheries in the United States.
Sustaining California’s Ocean
The Sustaining California’s Ocean (SCO) program builds on more than a decade of RLF support for the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative, a public-private partnership that established the nation’s first science-based network of marine protected areas (MPAs) in 2012. California’s MPA network protects nearly 17 percent of nearshore waters including some of the state’s most iconic and beloved coastal areas. SCO cultivates a new approach to managing ocean and coastal habitats through inclusive partnerships to advance research and monitoring, stewardship, and compliance. SCO also seeks to modernize California’s ocean governance by helping to build capacity, leadership, and financing among local, tribal, and state governments and nonprofit organizations to effectively implement and manage the MPA network over the long term.
Hawai‘i Marine Planning
The Hawai‘i Marine Planning program is a partnership with the State of Hawai’i and local philanthropy to support Hawai‘i’s Marine 30×30 Initiative, which calls for effectively managing Hawai‘i’s nearshore marine waters, with 30 percent established as marine management areas by 2030. In addition to creation of a statewide network of marine management areas in the Main Hawaiian Islands, the Initiative focuses on promoting sustainable or pono use of marine resources, scientific and community-based monitoring, reducing land-based pollution impacts, and restoration of nearshore coral reefs.
California Fisheries Improvement Strategy
The California Fisheries Improvement Strategy (FIS) program works to ensure commercially and recreationally significant California state-managed fisheries meet global standards for sustainability and good management. FIS fosters innovations in fisheries management and practices, supports improved capacity of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and promotes modernization of data collection and analysis.
California Coastal Program
Established in 2012, the California Coastal Program (CCP) seeks to elevate coastal conservation as a priority for California policymakers. The program works to advance funding and policies that address important threats, such as sea level rise, to coastal and marine resources and communities, promote equitable public access to beaches and other coastal resources, and ensure public agencies and officials are accountable for strong coastal management.
The Land-Sea Connection (LSC) program, launched in 2017, works to advance the long-term health and resilience of California watersheds by promoting more effective local and state policies and conservation programs; supporting high-value, on-the-ground conservation efforts; and helping secure equitable and sustained public funding to support community needs. The LSC program, funded by the Campbell Foundation, seeks to improve stewardship and reduce impacts to watershed health across a range of issues, with focused investments related to cannabis cultivation, agricultural practices, and urban runoff/stormwater.
Governor Announces Ambitious Biodiversity Targets for California
October 7, 2020
Today, Governor Newsom signed an executive order to protect 30 percent of California’s land and ocean by 2030 (30x30). This announcement makes California the first state in the United States to commit to the global 30x30 effort targeted by the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. The executive order also directs California to elevate the role of natural and working lands conservation in its efforts to combat climate change. “Resources Legacy Fund congratulates Governor Newsom for taking this bold and necessary step to stem the dual threats of biodiversity loss and climate change. With this announcement, the governor demonstrates that…
Conservation Leadership More Important Than Ever
April 22, 2020
As the COVID-19 pandemic ravages lives and economies around the globe, all other issues, including conservation, have taken a distant backseat. On this 50th anniversary of Earth Day it’s worth remembering that adversity can spur progress: now is the time to lean into our collective efforts to advance conservation, environmental justice, and climate action. History shows us that even in the most difficult times, leadership and vision can advance largescale environmental successes with far-reaching ecological, social, and economic benefits. In 1933, as Great Depression unemployment peaked at almost 25%, newly elected President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the Civilian Conservation Corps…
As California nears the milestone of its first decade of MPA network implementation, valuable new lessons continue to emerge that can be applied both to improve its own efforts and to inform MPA managers around the world. As the impacts of climate change on ocean ecosystems become more dire, there is also a growing interest in understanding how MPAs may help build resilience. Ensuring California’s MPA network is effectively managed is critical to both meeting the goals of the Marine Life Protection Act itself and to ensuring the state’s MPAs contribute to a healthy and abundant ocean.
California has committed to partnership-based model of managing its marine protected area (MPA) network, focusing on community stewardship and education, enforcement, policy and permitting, and scientific monitoring. This document summarizes some of the key components and lessons learned from California’s experience designing, launching, and implementing a program to monitor the ecological and socioeconomic impacts of its MPA network.
From 2004 to 2012, RLF guided a public-private partnership including foundations, multiple stakeholder groups, and the State of California in creating a statewide, science-based network of marine protected areas (MPA) that protect nearly 17 percent of California’s nearshore ocean waters, the first such effort successfully completed in the United States. RLF produced an assessment of its experience in leading the eight-year Marine Life Protection Act Initiative that provides useful lessons to help guide MPA network planning efforts in other regions worldwide.
In March 2019, Resources Legacy Fund, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and Ocean Conservancy together recommended actions the Newsom administration could take to help ensure the state’s extraordinary coast and ocean are healthy, productive, and accessible for generations to come.
In December 2017, RLF released the second edition of Guide to California’s Marine Life Management Act, written by RLF’s Mike Weber with Huff McGonigal and Burr Heneman. RLF partnered with the state of California to establish a process for implementing the landmark 1999 law. RLF and its donors continue to advance monitoring, stewardship, governance, and public funding for the statewide marine protected area network created under the law. The Guide can be found here.