December 2021 Research Summaries and Sustainability Tips

Please enjoy Everblue's research summaries and sustainability tips for the month of December. Read on to learn about illegal fishing practices and blue economies. Don't forget to check out Everblue's 2021 Sustainable Gift Guide if you haven't already!

DECEMBER 11: RESEARCH SUMMARY - FISHING AND FUEL

In Ghana, fossil fuel subsidies are used to ease the financial burden on fishers. But according to 300 household surveys and 20 in-depth interviews with stakeholders in the Western region of Ghana, these fuel subsidies are not equally distributed. Local fisherfolk rely on these subsidies for business, but as vulnerable groups that are less politically connected, they are often left out or given less.

Fishing boats lined up along the shore.
Alvaro Rojas (@wanderreds)

This leads to a decline of local fisheries, and thus an increase in illegal fishing practices. Fossil fuel subsidy reform would allow room for equal distribution among vulnerable groups, as well as provide funding for alternative energy sources that can better support the financial future of these local fisheries.


RESEARCH: Politics, power and unequal access to fisheries subsidies among small-scale coastal fisherfolk in Ghana. Victor Owusu. 2021.


DECEMBER 12: SUSTAINABILITY TIP - STOP ILLEGAL FISHING

Person holding a laptop with the screen facing the camera. On the screen is Stop Illegal Fishing's website.

Stop Illegal Fishing is an independent

African nonprofit that is focused on ending illegal fishing practices. They work with many organizations, including the West Africa Task Force, to regulate fishing vessels and make fishing illegally more difficult. One of the ways they do this is with VISIBLE, a program that works with locals to identify stateless and shared vessels, all of which are illegal. Stateless vessels are not registered, and shared vessels are actually shared between multiple groups (i.e., fisherfolk). This allows them to avoid recording their catch and reporting to port authorities.


VISIBLE is open to the public on Stop Illegal Fishing’s website, where anyone may report an illegal fishing vessel, including any photos captured. Consider donating to SIF to assist them in their fight to end illegal fishing practices!


DECEMBER 30: RESEARCH SUMMARY - SMALL ISLAND DEVELOPING STATES

Coastal countries and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) see promise in ocean-based economic growth: it is estimated that the potential economic contributions will double from 2010 - 2030. We’re talking over $3 trillion USD! Advocates for adopting a Blue Economy model argue that it provides potential for social equity and environmental sustainability, but some are concerned these priorities would be sidelined in policy and practice.

A graphic to explain what a blue economy is. Blue economies are economic activities that are based in the ocean such as fishing, tourism, offshore drilling, and more.

What does this mean? The growth of tourism causes local businesses to face enormous competition from big overseas corporations. This causes “economic leakage,” which means money that would normally be invested in the local economy now flows elsewhere. For example, in the Bahamas, more than 80% of tourism profits end up “leaking out” of the local economy and into the hands of massive corporations. Stay tuned tomorrow to learn how you can help build a more inclusive economy!


RESEARCH:

Performance of tourism analysis: A Caribbean perspective. Jayawardena and Ramajeesingh. 2003.

Rethinking the oceans: Towards the blue economy. Michel. 2017.


DECEMBER 31: SUSTAINABILITY TIP - BUILDING AN INCLUSIVE BLUE ECONOMY

We can broadly define inclusive growth as economic growth that is distributed across society and benefits people fairly. Unregulated economic growth can produce inequality and damage the environment.

While truly creating a sustainable and inclusive Blue Economy is going to require sweeping international economic changes, there are things that you can do too! If you’re going on vacation, make sure to avoid staying at transnational corporation resorts and focus on buying from local companies to reduce economic leakages. Perhaps you could check out some local hostels on hostelworld.com if you feel safe doing that - as a bonus, they tend to be cheaper and you can meet other travelers!


Also, traveling is expensive and isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay - if you’d prefer to stay at home, and you like eating fish, use @seafoodwatch to make sure your seafood is sourced locally and sustainably to support a Blue Economy that puts the ocean first.


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