A new use for museum fish specimens

A new use for museum fish specimens

A new use for museum fish specimens

Preserved specimens. Image by Merryjack, Flickr.


The discoloured fish that rest in glass jars in museums across the world are normally used by specialists as references to study the traits that identify certain species. But a new study proposes an additional use for such ‘samples.’

Published in the Journal of Applied Ichthyology, the paper proposes using such specimens to estimate the length-weight relationships of fish that are hard to find alive in their natural environment.

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Fisherwomen contribute tonnes of fish, billions of dollars to global fisheries

Fisherwomen contribute tonnes of fish, billions of dollars to global fisheries

Haenyeo, woman diver of Jeju Island, South Korea. Photo by Andrew Trites.

Women’s fishing activities around the world amount to an estimated 3 million tonnes of marine fish and other seafood per year, contributing significantly to food and livelihood security in all regions of the world. However, these contributions often go unnoticed.

A new study by researchers at the University of British Columbia aims to address this oversight by assembling and presenting the first quantitative estimates of catch by women and the associated value of what is brought to shore, on a global scale.

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Billions lost as illicit fisheries trade hurting nations who can afford it least

More than eight million to 14 million tonnes of unreported fish catches are traded illicitly every year, costing the legitimate market between $9 billion and $17 billion in trade each year, according to new research.

In a paper published in Science Advances, researchers from the Fisheries Economics Research Unit and the Sea Around Us initiative, both based at UBC’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, as well as the Sea Around Us – Indian Ocean at the University of Western Australia, looked at catch losses for 143 countries and found that significant amounts of seafood are being illicitly taken out of the food supply system of many countries, impacting the nutritional food security and livelihoods of millions.

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Daniel Pauly publishes second edition of his book on how fish breathe and grow

Daniel Pauly publishes second edition of his book on how fish breathe and grow

Daniel Pauly publishes second edition of his book on how fish breathe and grow

For more than 40 years, Dr Daniel Pauly, principal investigator of the Sea Around Us initiative at the University of British Columbia’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, has been collecting evidence to further develop his Gill-Oxygen Limitation Theory, also known as GOLT.

Back in 2010, he presented his findings in a slim book titled Gasping Fish and Panting Squids: Oxygen Temperature and the Growth of Water Breathing Animals, whose second edition has just been released; a Chinese edition will soon follow.

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Women in UBC Science: Maria ‘Deng’ Palomares

Women in UBC Science: Maria ‘Deng’ Palomares

Women in UBC Science: Maria ‘Deng’ Palomares

Deng Palomares. Photo by Paul Joseph.

Dr. Maria ‘Deng’ Palomares is a senior scientist and the project manager of the Sea Around Us initiative at UBC’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, where she started as a research associate two decades ago.

A marine biologist from the University of the Philippines with a specialization in computer science and a doctorate from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Agronomie de Toulouse, Dr. Palomares arrived at marine biology and fisheries science after switching from the ‘hard-to-stomach’ practices of medical school.

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Photo by Paul Joseph.

Daniel Pauly wins BBVA Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Ecology and Conservation Biology

Photo by Paul Joseph.

Photo by Paul Joseph.

The Sea Around Us Principal Investigator, Dr Daniel Pauly, together with marine biologists Carlos Duarte and Terence Hughes, has been awarded the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Ecology and Conservation Biology.

Pauly, Duarte and Hughes are being recognized for “their seminal contributions to our understanding of the world’s oceans, and their efforts to protect and conserve marine biodiversity and oceanic ecosystem services in a rapidly changing world.”

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Recreational fishers catching more sharks and rays

Recreational fishers catching more sharks and rays

Hammerhead shark. Photo by Kris Mikael Krister, Wikimedia Commons.

Recreational fishers are increasingly targeting sharks and rays, a situation that is causing concern among researchers.

A new study by an international team of scientists reveals that recreational catches of these fishes have gradually increased over the last six decades around the world, now accounting for 5-6 per cent of the total catches taken for leisure or pleasure.

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Are bad subsidies linked to slavery in fisheries?

The Sea Around Us research assistant, Jessika Woroniak, joined forces with classmate Claudia Kobetitch and created a poster that highlights the links between subsidies that enhance the fishing capacity of industrial vessels and modern slavery at sea.

The poster was presented during an internal competition at the Microeconomics class at UBC’s Master of Public Policy and Global Affairs. In a graphic manner, the piece shows how overfishing leads to dwindling fish stocks which, in turn, produce less catch and profits, a situation that prompts many operators to cut costs. The latter, can only typically be done by reducing worker pay and conditions.

Previous work by the Sea Around Us has also explored the connections between overfishing and labour and human rights abuses.

Click on the image to see the PDF of the poster.

subsidies slavery poster

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Sea Around Us co-organizes event with Pulitzer Prize-winner Ian Urbina

The Sea Around Us has joined forces with the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, UBC’s School of Journalism, the Global Reporting Centre, and Trace Foundation to host an event titled The Outlaw Ocean: A conversation with Ian Urbina.

The Outlaw Ocean: Journeys Across the Last Untamed Frontier, is Urbina’s most recent book and across its 540 pages, the New York Times investigative reporter and Pulitzer Prize winner uncovers a globe-spanning network of crime and exploitation that emanates from the fishing, oil and shipping industries, and on which the world’s economies rely.

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