Sustainable Ocean Solutions
The Sustainable Ocean Solutions (SOS) project, made possible by the generous support of the Waitt Foundation, combines three important tools for ocean sustainability – rights-based management reform, marine protected areas, and demand-side incentives – into novel solutions for the world’s fisheries challenges. When employed individually, these three instruments can only successfully tackle a small percentage of ailing fisheries worldwide. A central challenge is to develop fisheries management systems to facilitate synergies among these approaches, thus capitalizing on their complementary strengths while overcoming their individual weaknesses. Although the necessary elements may differ across fisheries and settings, by combining changes that affect the supply of fish (such as catch shares), with conservation measures (such as MPAs), and tools that change consumer demand (such as fisheries certification), fisheries, communities, and ecosystems can simultaneously prosper.
This project uses a two-pronged approach, focusing on 1) research and development, determining how and in what contexts to combine the sustainability tools of marine protected areas, property-rights based management, and demand-side incentives, and 2), strategically selected as proofs of concept, which, if successful, will be scalable across the globe. The demonstration projects will link our research and development expertise with innovative partners who have proven skills at implementing reform in national and international settings.
Making a broader impact
This project will result in more resilient fishing communities, more sustainable fisheries, better functioning ecosystems, and increased quantity and quality of sustainable seafood. These benefits will be achieved by correctly aligning the interests of fisheries and conservation. By leveraging growing consumer demand for sustainable seafood, and linking this demand to proven supply-side changes, we will catalyze much more rapid reform of the world's fisheries. Our goal is not incremental progress. Rather we seek transformative solutions for ocean sustainability that can help reverse the global tide of decline.
Photo credit: Dan Ovando