Eating fish has been an integral part of the Caribbean's cultural traditions for centuries. Fish is also a major source of food and essential nutrients, especially in rural areas where there are scores of small coastal communities.
The extinction of a single species (a fish off the coast of Cuba, a bird in the Brazilian forest) creates a void that can trigger a whole series of repercussions, from the alteration of ecosystems to increased hunger.
Dianne Christian Simmons recalls the days when she would head out with her husband on fishing expeditions in the Gulf of Paria, a 3,000-square-mile shallow inland sea between Trinidad and Tobago and the east coast of Venezuela.
It has been four years since the guns fell silent in Sri Lanka’s northern Vanni region, after almost three decades of ethnic violence. Unfortunately peace does not mean the end of hardship for the most vulnerable people here: the women.
“No fighting, please. Everybody will get their fish. Give us time to empty the crates and weigh today’s catch,” Patrick Guiliano Marie, leader of the St. Pierre Fish Multi-Purpose Cooperative Society, shouts at the crowd jostling impatiently at the fish landing station in Grand Gaube, a fishing village in northern Mauritius.
The future of food security in the Mekong region lies at a crossroads, as several development ventures, including the Xayaburi Hydropower Project, threaten to alter fish migration routes, disrupt the flow of sediments and nutrients downstream, and endanger millions whose livelihoods depend on the Mekong River basin's resources.
A growing chorus of politicians, scientists and environmentalists are urging President Anote Tong of Kiribati to actually do what he claims was already done in 2008: create the world's most effective marine protected area in a remote archipelago in the Central Pacific Ocean.
The immense scale of the Pacific Ocean, at 165 million square kilometres, inspires awe and fascination, but for those who inhabit the 22 Pacific island countries and territories, it is the very source of life. Without it, livelihoods and economies would collapse, hunger and ill-health would become endemic and human survival would be threatened.
Hours after President Macky Sall of Senegal met in Washington with President Barack Obama late last month, he stepped into a brightly lit hotel meeting room to accept the Peter Benchley Award for National Stewardship of the Ocean, the only prize for ocean conservation given to heads of state.
A 4,200-year-old relief in the Tomb of Mereruka in Sakkara depicts the staggering array of fish that once inhabited the Nile River and its wetlands. Ancient Egyptian fishermen with linen nets haul in their bounty, including the sacred Oxyrhynchus, a snub-nosed fish that was captured and nurtured but never eaten.
For Egypt’s commercial marine fishermen, making a living has never been more dangerous. Egyptian crews driven further afield in search of fish have faced pirate attacks, spent months in dingy foreign prisons, and come under fire from coast guard vessels. Dozens of fishermen have been held for ransom, abused by authorities, or shot and killed.
The rivers in northern Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province were once thick with trout. Spanning hundreds of kilometres, these water bodies played host to the exotic fish, first introduced by the British in the early 1900s, which eventually became a staple in the diets and livelihoods of the province’s 20 million residents.
A coastal city, Sierra Leone's capital, Freetown, is an area where people have relied on the ocean for food and employment for as long as they have lived there.
Calls are mounting for the world's big fishing powers to stop subsidising international fleets that use destructive methods like bottom trawling in foreign coastal waters, drastically reducing the catch of local artisanal fishers who use nets and fishing lines.
Sharks have a safe haven the size of France, and the Republic of Palau that protects them is making millions of dollars from shark tourism.