Big Wins for Tuna and Sharks
Worldwide, tuna fisheries worth tens of billions of dollars face a slew of threats, from overfishing and illegal fishing to the incidental catch of nontarget species, which often throws ecosystems out of balance. Fortunately, fisheries managers are starting to respond: At its annual meeting in November, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), the world’s largest regional fishery management organization, approved a slate of significant measures to protect tuna and sharks, and address illegal fishing.
Overseeing a $5.4 billion fishery in the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, ICCAT adopted an innovative management approach for northern albacore tuna called a harvest strategy, which requires governments to agree on a long-term set of rules that automatically take effect based on a fish population’s status. For example, if a population drops below a pre-agreed threshold, this triggers a reduction in catch quotas. The commission also committed to move toward harvest strategies for bluefin tuna, the world’s most commercially valuable fish, next year.
Further, despite opposition from the longline and recreational tuna fishing industries, ICCAT agreed to a two-year ban on the taking of endangered north Atlantic shortfin mako sharks, including those caught incidentally during fishing for other species. Fishing for shortfin mako could resume in 2024 but only if their total mortality from the previous year has not exceeded 250 metric tons, an amount supported by science and far less than is allowed under current practice. Like many sharks, shortfin makos are apex predators whose presence helps marine ecosystems function as they have for millennia, and protecting them is good for ocean health and fisheries.
And in a major step to combat illegal fishing, ICCAT adopted stronger controls on the transfer of fish between vessels in ports and at sea—a practice known as transshipment that historically has been poorly regulated, with ample loopholes for illicit fishers to move their catch to market. The commission also approved a requirement that ICCAT-authorized vessels have an International Maritime Organization number, a unique identifier that makes it easier for managers, authorities, and wholesale seafood buyers to trace catch. Lastly, the commission will now require that at least 10% of longline vessels fishing in ICCAT waters have onboard observers, to further increase transparency around what fish is caught where.
“Securing these wins—together, at one ICCAT meeting—was energizing,” said Rachel Hopkins, who directs Pew’s international fisheries work. “Each of these new measures fulfills or advances our goals to put in place a global system of rules to achieve sustainable fishing for a healthy ocean.”
Dashboard Tracks Economic Recovery in Philadelphia
While Philadelphia’s recovery from the economic impacts of the pandemic will be a complicated and high-stakes journey for its residents, workers, employers, and policymakers, the city’s progress can be tracked by the ever-changing health of its businesses, the jobs they offer, the wages they pay, and what their customers spend.
The new interactive Business and Jobs Recovery Dashboard from Pew’s Philadelphia research and policy initiative makes it easy to analyze such information by providing snapshots of local business health and job trends, starting before the pandemic-driven shutdowns in March 2020 and continuing with regular updates to the present.
Assembled from various data sources, the nine charts display key indicators such as delinquency on bills, financial stability, bankruptcy filings, consumer spending, and wages and jobs by sector. Most of the indicators can be filtered by industry type. Some can also be filtered by ZIP code, business size (from micro with nine or fewer employees, to large with 500 or more), and gender of the owner or top executive, offering a nuanced view of recovery across the city. Users may also apply two or more filters at the same time, for finer-grained findings. And two additional reference charts provide profiles of the businesses and populations in each ZIP code area before the pandemic. The dashboard is available at pewtrusts.org/PhilaBusinessDashboard.
“The data accessible through the dashboard will help community leaders as they monitor Philadelphia’s recovery from COVID-19, and help them to better allocate precious resources to help the city get back on its feet,” says Elinor Haider, who directs Pew’s Philadelphia research and policy initiative.
Diversity and Division in Advanced Economies
Wide majorities in most of 17 advanced economies say having people of many different backgrounds improves their society. Outside of Japan and Greece, around 6 in 10 or more hold this view, and in many places—including Singapore, New Zealand, the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Taiwan—at least 8 in 10 describe where they live as benefiting from people of different ethnic groups, religions, and races, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center.
Even in Japan and Greece, the share who think diversity makes their country better has increased by double digits since the question was last asked four years ago, and significant increases have also taken place in most other nations where trends are available.
Alongside this growing openness to diversity, however, is a recognition that societies may not be living up to these ideals: In fact, most people say racial or ethnic discrimination is a problem in their society. Half or more in almost every place surveyed describe discrimination as at least a somewhat serious problem, including around three-quarters or more who have this view in Italy, France, Sweden, the U.S., and Germany. And in eight surveyed publics, at least half describe their society as one with very strong or strong conflicts between people of different racial or ethnic groups. The U.S. is the country with the largest share of the public saying there is racial or ethnic conflict.
Notably, however, in most societies racial and ethnic divisions are not seen as the most salient cleavage. Rather, in the majority of places surveyed, more people identify conflicts between people who support different political parties than conflicts between people with different ethnic or racial backgrounds. Political divisions are also seen as greater than the other two dimensions tested: between those with different religions and between urban and rural residents.
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