New Paper Highlights ‘InFish,’ an International Knowledge-Sharing Network Supporting Global Conservation and Sustainable Use of Inland Fish

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‘InFish’ is a professional network raising awareness of inland fish to inform policy, advance conservation, and promote sustainable fisheries. The network has been formally introduced in a recent publication, co-authored by National CASC Research Fish Biologist Abby Lynch and Chief Doug Beard.

throwing net

Man throwing net in Lower Mekong River Basin (public domain).

Inland fisheries provide critical resources to human communities around the world. Almost 20% of global fish production is from inland fish and over 90% of inland fish catch is used for human consumption. Importantly, the vast majority (95%) of inland fish harvests come from developing countries, providing food to oftentimes rural, low income communities. Despite the importance of this resource, valuations have yet to accurately include the total services provided by global inland fisheries and they are generally excluded from management discussions or fail to attract high profile funding for research and development.

InFish was developed as an international and voluntary group of fisheries researchers tackling issues surrounding the important role that inland fish and fisheries play in food, livelihoods, recreation, and broader society. The network began in 2012, but its origins go back to 2010 when initial cooperation united between research groups from the National CASC, Carleton University, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Michigan State University, and the USGS Great Lakes Science Center. Today, InFish is an inclusive community for fisheries professionals seeking to serve as ‘knowledge brokers’ for freshwater, fish, and the future. Through InFish, individuals and groups from all over the world who share these goals can come together to foster decision-making discussions, submit research proposals, publish scientific articles, inform policy, and advance sustainable management surrounding inland fish. The four central tenants of InFish are:

  1. Advance understanding of inland fish.
  2. Inform policy relevant to inland fish and fishers.
  3. Raise awareness of the importance of inland fish and fisheries to food security, nutrition, and livelihoods and address relevant issues.
  4. Build capacity and foster professional development within the global inland fisheries community.

These core objectives have been outlined, alongside additional in-depth information about the network, in a recent article published by the American Fisheries Society, co-authored by the National CASC’s Research Fish Biologist Abby Lynch and Chief Doug Beard. Since its inception, the network has expanded to include over 120 professionals working on inland fisheries representing over 50 organizations based in more than 20 countries. InFish members have jointly published over 25 peer review articles, hosted numerous symposia and other conference events, and were instrumental in the organization of the 2015 Global Conference on Inland Fisheries. InFish has become an international source of inland fisheries expertise and may serve as a model network for other natural resource challenges now and into the future.

Learn more about the InFish network by viewing their website, projects, and publications here.

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