Framing the Challenge
The success of coastal fisheries management depends on various policy and governance factors. However, even if all the necessary policies and governance are in place, local political leadership and strong political will are still the most critical factors for successful policy implementation and roll-out. Local government leaders are key decision-makers in the use, management, and protection of coastal resources; they enable the prioritization of community-based fisheries management, become the strongest advocates for fisheries reform, and significantly help advance policy and financial commitments for the sector.
Coastal 500, aims to harness this potential, facilitating the collaboration of local leaders to enable positive shifts in public opinion, political will, and government policies and financing related to the fisheries sector.
Local Leaders face a wide range of challenges to address in their communities. Joining the network indicates that the coastal fisheries sector is a key priority, recognizing that it directly supports the livelihoods, food security, and health of the fishers and the communities who depend on these resources. Individually, local leaders can create significant change and impact in their local communities. Together, their collective action can achieve change at a national and even global scale.
The pressures of COVID and climate change demand immediate action. But global conversations about ocean conservation are also reaching a critical juncture. The United Nations has declared 2022 as the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture (IYAFA), and "aims to focus world attention on the role that small-scale fisheries, fish farmers and fish workers play in food security and nutrition, poverty eradication and sustainable natural resource use thereby increasing global understanding and action to support them." Coastal 500 members have the opportunity to represent their countries in international discussions and highlight local actions to inspire global change.