Marine conservation efforts often fail when short-term costs are perceived to outweigh future benefits, which may be uncertain. All too often, forgoing fishing in protected areas represents a severe economic sacrifice for coastal communities, and the promised ‘spill-over’ benefits of marine protection can be slow to accrue. As a result, conservation goals are often at loggerheads with local needs, disenfranchising traditional resource users.
Reconciling the interests of the conservation and fishing sectors requires new approaches that overcome the opportunity costs of surrendering fishing in a protected area, in timeframes that work for communities. BV's models work by demonstrating that sustainable fisheries management can yield meaningful economic benefits for communities and seafood buyers, in realistic timescales. Only by making this connection can marine conservation be sustained and scaled beyond its current limited scope.
Making marine conservation make sense
Time and again marine conservation efforts break down because they fail to resonate with the needs of coastal communities. Such failure is avoidable since coastal populations have the greatest long-term interest in conservation success. Blue Ventures is committed to tackling this conundrum by developing conservation models that work for people, showing that effective marine conservation is in everyone’s interest.
BV works from the grassroots, placing responsibility for fisheries management in the hands of local communities. This is particularly necessary for low-income countries, where there is often limited central capacity and infrastructure for marine management.
Their models play a critical role in rebuilding coastal fisheries, providing effective and replicable approaches for reversing marine biodiversity loss, improving food security and building socio-ecological resilience to climate change.