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November 21, 2020

To our Local Government Partners

World Fisheries Day
Celebrating local leaders and communities around the world

It has been over eight months since the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 global pandemic. All nations and every community have felt the health and economic impacts of this virus, and we all continue to face unprecedented challenges as we move towards the end of 2020.

Today we recognize World Fisheries Day, and I wanted to take this opportunity to pay a special thanks to each of you and the coastal communities you represent around the world on behalf of Rare and the Fish Forever program. During such a complicated year, your perseverance to continue to pursue coastal fisheries reform with the mission to safeguard the food and livelihoods of coastal communities and protect the ecosystems we all depend on is a powerful testament to your leadership.

We wanted to specifically recognize that these efforts continue in countries around the world, from partners in Honduras and the Philippines who launched inspiring campaigns to mobilize community action, to government leaders from Indonesia and Brazil who joined the pledge to support healthy and sustainable fishing communities, to state governments in Palau committing to advance their climate resilience work and action for coastal communities, to the approval of a landmark regulation in Mozambique that recognizes community-managed areas and locally designated reserves. The global movement continues, and you are each at the heart of it.

While the impacts and implications of COVID-19 continue to unfold worldwide, Fish Forever has been adjusting and shifting approaches to adapt to the new reality. But I wanted to reaffirm we hold the same commitment: to continue to support communities and government in this important effort to connect effective protection of critical habitat with sustainable production of local fisheries. And now more than ever, to highlight that these fisheries are an essential part of the productive economy and must remain a priority during the upcoming recovery.

To discuss these initiatives, the new approaches for 2021, and how we can all maintain momentum and collaboration, the Global Network of Local Government Leaders will have its first convening and activity session early next year. It will gather the mayor partners on a virtual platform connecting from all parts of the world to exchange experiences, learn from one another, and identify solutions together.

I hope that each of you are proud of being part of the biggest coalition of local government leaders committed to coastal fisheries reform. Your commitment to local response, policy, and action combines to form a collective voice and a power to deliver a truly global solution. We thank you for your ongoing commitment, and we look forward to working with you all.Happy World Fisheries Day to all.

Yours Sincerely,

Stephen Box
Managing Director, Fish Forever