The past and future for fish and fishing with Becca Franks

Fish aficionado Becca Franks and I have been collaborating for several years. In November, 2019, we gave a lecture in the Law, Ethics & Animals Program (LEAP) at Yale University titled Fish, Fisheries, and Ending Factory Fishing and Farming. With that lecture fresh in our mind, we did an interview in early 2020 with artist and filmmaker Christopher Roth for Germany’s pavilion at the Venice Biennale of Architecture. The premise was it is 2038 and all the world’s problems have been solved. Download (the first two pages) of our paper The state and status of fishes and aquatic invertebrates: A retrospective, also published in 2038. We are not only thinking about (and writing from) the future — we also recently published a piece with Troy Vettese on the history of the fish pain debate in Issues in Science and Technology.

The US Response to COVID-19 and Climate Change Endangers the Country and the World

Dale Jamieson and I co-wrote a commentary for One Earth on similarities between the U.S. positions on COVID-19 and climate change.

The US does not need to lead the world, but it does need to act as a good citizen. This requires at a minimum re-engaging with the Paris Agreement and supporting the WHO. Whereas there are 300 million Americans and 7 billion potential victims of a global pandemic and climate change, there is only one earth that we all must share.

An evaluation of Regional Fisheries Management Organization at-sea compliance monitoring and observer programs


Independent onboard monitoring of fishing activities is important in an era of marine animal overexploitation and declining fish populations. Fisheries observers have traditionally filled this role to varying capacities. Their work is critical to fisheries managers because observers collect data on, for example, catch composition, discard and by-catch policy compliance, and transshipment activities – data that would otherwise be unreliable if collected from other sources. However, fisheries observers have been subject to human rights and safety violations, including intimidation and assault, and many observers have even disappeared from their vessel assignments. In some cases, remote electronic monitoring (REM) has been deployed to complement or substitute for human observers. This study is the first comparison of existing at-sea compliance monitoring and observer programs for 17 Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs), the main institutions that currently exist to manage and conserve fish on the high seas or straddling high seas boundaries. Currently only three RFMOs mandate 100% observer coverage on fishing vessels, and no RFMOs mandate 100% at-sea monitoring coverage using REM. Moreover, no RFMOs mandate full transparency of either human observer or REM data. In addition, no RFMOs include regulations to sufficiently ensure the protection of fisheries observer rights and safety, and only four RFMOs mandate a specific process in the event that an observer disappears or dies. RFMOs are well positioned to mandate comprehensive, independent, and transparent monitoring coverage onboard fishing vessels by utilizing a complementary approach of human observers and REM. This would help ensure better management of fisheries as well as better protection of marine ecosystems and human rights at sea.

Citation: Ewell, C., J. Hocevar, E. Mitchell, S. Snowden, J. Jacquet (2020) An evaluation of Regional Fisheries Management Organization at-sea compliance monitoring and observer programs. Marine Policy 115: 103842.

Watch over Antarctic waters

Commentary led by Cassandra Brooks, and also David Ainley, Peter Abrams, Paul Dayton, Robert Hofman, and Donald Siniff at Nature.

In a rapidly changing climate, fisheries in the Southern Ocean must be managed cautiously…

Read it here.

Asad Raza’s Weekend Guests: Jennifer Jacquet


As part of Root sequence. Mother tongue (2017), Asad Raza’s show at the Whitney Museum of American Art, he invited series of guests to occupy the installation with choreographic, musical, and intellectual events for weekend visitors to the museum. Comprising mentors, friends, and younger creative practitioners, the group is a plurivocal portrait of the artist’s community. Asad Raza and Jennifer Jacquet discuss octopus, fish, shame, climate change, and other things.

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