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Dear experts,
Thank you so very much for your complements and for pointing out some relevant issues. Below are our replies to all your comments in a corresponding order.

1. Thanks! We were surprised to discover that the fishers thought so too, and were rather keen to engage in the conservation of Bluefins! However, such programmes have already been launched in other countries and the way we see it is that the novelty here is mostly in the opportunity that we provide for dealing with seasonal unemployment and social displacement, as well as inspiration to start year-round businesses that revolve around continuous yet environmentally-friendly fishing practices.

2. Desirable - The current income of our beneficiaries is, in average, the minimum wage; during the fishing prohibition period, they're making no money at all. Our project will reward participants per tagged fish, by weight. Notably, the programme is not designed to provide financial security to everyone in the community. Instead, it encourages collaboration between muslim and jewish partners (e.g., boat owners and skilful fishers) as a source of inspiration, and provides monetary incentives to take part in conservation. The rationale here is that the more fish are tagged, the better their income. The skill that our target beneficiaries will have acquired can later be used to start sustainable businesses as well but, once again, that will eventually come down to the motivation of the fishers.

• Feasible - This project wouldn't have to provide an alternative source of income all year round. Instead, it would offer the target beneficiaries revenue throughout the fishing prohibition period, which is 2-4 months long. In the rest of the year, these fishers are able to carry on in their fishing or, with the support of the project, start up new businesses that revolve around tagging. The emphasis here is to provide new opportunities and encourage growth and support, rather than to compensate the fishers for government restrictions.
The capture-mark-release method, which is the science behind the tagging programme, is able to inform about important areas (e.g., spawning / feeding-grounds) for these highly migratory species, as the animals are fixed with archival tags that collect data and transmit it back to shore. Samples that are collected teach about the genetics of the east-Med Bluefin population and the ecological role that they are playing in this region. Such data is the very foundation of marine management and planning, and is essential for the long-term protection of animals at risk of extinction.
• Viability - The need for new tagging depends on the ecological question that is being asked. Any number of tagged bluefins is already enough for informative findings. It is hoped that this project, in due time, will be picked up by the government to be implemented in the longterm.
 
3. This is the overarching objective of this project. We believe that environmental conservation is a great vehicle for sustaining social values and that the way in which its done can inspire other projects. This is our own radical way of promoting peace, prosperity and planet and of taking on this challenge.

4. Additional thoughts:
• “I would definitely like to...":
 Thanks!!! We chose this approach because we realised that in order to conduct intensive field science we are totally dependent on the expertise of fishers. We then found out that such individuals may be willing to engage but unable due to those newly-introduced fishing prohibitions. We were dumbfounded that what stood in our way towards collaboration with those fishers was nothing but the government itself; the irony here is that it is the government's job to look after social values as much as the environment. We then realised the opportunity we had in our close interaction with both the government and fishers. Our longterm sustainability vision is of stable fisheries that do not sacrifice the integrity of the marine environment, and to provide for conservation and consumption to go alongside. Our overarching goal is to demonstrate the power of peace rather than war, providing inspiration for scientists, managers or fishers, all throughout the world.
 
• "How does the program..."
Answer: As mentioned above, the tagging programme is, in essence, conservation-oriented. It provides for biological and ecological knowledge of threatened species in the sea, as well as the development of monitoring indicators which are imperative for environmental strategic assessments and large-scale, spatial planning programmes. Just like we did in our tuna-tagging seminar (see the 'progress during current phase' section) we will convey our findings further through integration forums of government officials, fishers, scientists, and the wider public. Additionally, we will publish our reports and, finally, continue our work on documentation and media / internet-exposure.

Hi Kate! I was thrilled to read your comment. Cheers!
Here are some of our thoughts relating to your questions:

1. As a matter of fact, Abdul probably already has heard about our programme, and from more than one source. Over the past few months we have been organising a capacity-building expedition of scientists from the UK and USA to Israel, to teach me and my fellow scientists their tuna-tagging protocols. Just before the Bluefin migration started here we put several posts on our Facebook page, calling for the help of local fishers to give us samples from their landings and go out to sea with us when the guest experts are here. This page is seen by thousands of people every day and by the time we met some of them in person, they said they had already heard about us from other fishers, or that they'd seen our flyers on their marine bulletin board, for instance. Israel is tiny and word spreads very fast, especially in light of the new fishing quotas. So we're already doing our first actual tagging pilot in three weeks or so, and I'm sure that with our online and face-to-face networking everyone will know about our programme. Most importantly, many in this community already know us in person. We've been working together for years, for example in our shark-tagging programme, fish stock surveys, and marine mammal observations.

2. We are hoping that, over time, we"ll pull people into this by the dozens. We see this happening in other places around the world, where people engage in annual tagging events for pure passion to the sport, as well as for their love of nature. I am certain that in the Israeli context of fishing prohibitions, people would have all the more reason to return every year. As for how many will start their own business - it's hard to predict, but whether they want to financially rely on this programme and become a part-time scientific fisher, or if they wish to get into eco-tourism, for example, and work all year-round, we and our partners will support their every step (for example through public exposure, training, direct partnerships and even as a faithful customer).

3. Our research in the past weeks includes personal meetings as well as practical tests at sea. First, we've been meeting commercial and recreational-fishers from the Arab sector or the general community of fishers. We would always clarify our intentions to get fish measurement and samples, and to introduce our idea for a tuna-tagging programme. We were very open to hear about possible difficulties or any sort of (constructive / destructive) feedback, which we incorporated into the proposal. We also went out to see with some of our prospective users, for a long day at sea. We managed to successfully sample bluefins and even hear our fisher say, without even being asked, "I wish I could only fish for science." This was very inspirational, by the way... By the way, this specific individual had been reluctant to even meet us for quite a long time, before we finally managed to get his interest. One of out 'high-level findings' was that pretty much every time he sails out to fish, he catches several sharks or swordfish that he always sets free. This is how we got our idea to involve our users in our shark tagging programme, and get their help in sampling other species that are key to our research.

4. Other organisation that we'd like to connect to are NGOs and government ministries. There are very many specialised groups in Israel that excel in marine lobbying, demonstration, and education. We've been working with many of those and I thing engaging them would probably be the easiest part of this project. We've also been able to attract the national ministry of fisheries and we hope that perhaps in the future, they will become our main long-term supporter.

I hope I'm addressing all your questions in my reply. If not, please don't hesitate to ask more or give your feedback. I"ll be glad if you do.

Thank you!!!

Hi Ryan. Thanks for your interest!

I heard about it from a friend of mine, who's been following my work over the past year or so.
I've been looking for an opportunity to promote this idea and as soon as I saw his email, I realised that this was it! I'm super enthusiastic about this (:
Cheers!