Photo by Tak, Flickr.

Thought Antarctica’s biodiversity was doing well? Think again

Photo by Tak, Flickr.

Photo by Tak, Flickr.

Twenty-three experts involved in the study “Antarctica and the strategic plan for biodiversity,” recently published in PLoS Biology, debunked the popular view that Antarctica and the Southern Ocean are in a better environmental shape than the rest of the world. In fact, the difference between the status of biodiversity in the region and planet Earth as a whole is negligible.

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The Sea Around Us at Vancouver’s March for Science (PHOTOS)

Photo by Deng Palomares

Photo by Deng Palomares

“It was the most organized, punctual march I’ve ever attended,” the Sea Around Us‘ Graduate Student Madeline Cashion said about the March for Science that took place in Vancouver on April 22, 2017.

Some 500 people gathered at Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza and, at 10 a.m., they started walking towards Creekside Park near Science World. Once there, an array of figures such as Dr. Scott Sampson, Paleontologist & CEO of Science World; Erin A’tman Ryan, Research Coordinator with the BC SPCA and member of the Syilx (Okanagan) Nation; and Marine Biologist Abby Schwarz, among others, gave speeches that touched upon the importance of academic freedom and evidence-based policy making, the cuts to scientific research funding proposed by the U.S. government, and climate change denial.

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Missing Catch movies

Sneak peek: The Sea Around Us’ research featured in the film “An Ocean Mystery: The Missing Catch”

Missing Catch movies
Researching and reporting on overfishing and underreported fish catches is not an easy task.

Nevertheless, for the past 18 years, the Sea Around Us has taken on this mission and nowadays its global reconstructed catch data has become a point of reference for scientists, conservation practitioners, fishers, and fisheries managers across the world.

But getting this information and the associated implications to the general public, and inspiring people to take action on it, is a whole different story. Fortunately, filmmaker Alison Barrat, from the Khaled Sultan Living Oceans Foundation, understood how important it is to spread the word about the true amount of fish we are taking out of our oceans and, with the support of the Smithsonian Channel, Rare and the Sea Around Us, produced and directed the documentary An Ocean Mystery: The Missing Catch.

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Photo by Elias Levy, Flickr.

Three cheers for biodiversity

Photo by Elias Levy, Flickr.

Photo by Elias Levy, Flickr.

Text by Daniel Pauly

Yes, the 6th Extinction is underway, and we are going to lose quite a bit of the Earth’s biodiversity, both terrestrial and marine, because of our agriculture, our fisheries, and because there are so many of us. But we should try to minimize the loss, using all the tools at our disposal.

One of these tools is slowing down, or even reversing, the rate at which we expand into and thus transform and ultimately destroy natural ecosystems and their biodiversity. On land, this consists of creating parks where the natural vegetative cover, notably forests, can maintain or reestablish itself, and provide habitats for animals that cannot live in landscapes shaped by agriculture.

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Photo by Nicolas Bailly

Thoughts on UBC’s Reconciliation Totem Pole

Photo by Nicolas Bailly

Photo by Nicolas Bailly

Text by Daniel Pauly

On April 1, 2017, a 17 m totem pole was raised at the south end of the University of British Columbia’s Main Mall. It is the Reconciliation Pole carved by Haida master carver and Hereditary Chief James Hart.

Hundreds of Vancouverites gathered for the event, which started at 1 p.m. with speeches by various First Nations dignitaries and dances. It was only shortly before 5 p.m. that the crowd -to which I belonged- on the small amphitheater to the south of the pole, was called on to tighten up the ropes that were laid along the field and connected to the semi-raised pole which was still resting on scaffolding.

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On meeting the Dalai Lama

Daniel Pauly and the Dalai Lama

Text by Daniel Pauly

On March 17, I met the Dalai Lama for a brief moment, following a long keynote speech he gave at a conference on ‘Buddhism in the 21st Century’, held in Lalanda, in the Indian State of Bihar.

It was not that I had suddenly given up on my freedom from religion. Rather, when I was invited to participate in this conference – along with a few western scientists involved in environmental conservation and animal welfare – I did not find any good reason why I should not accept, given that Buddhism appears to be the rare faith that does not require you to check your knowledge of physics, biology and history, as well common sense at the door.

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Teaching about Filipino sardines in Canada

Amy Coghlan, Eric Sy, Sony de Guzmán, Gordon Tsui, Sarah Popov. Photo by Deng Palomares

Amy Coghlan, Eric Sy, Sony de Guzmán, Gordon Tsui, Sarah Popov

Asunción de Guzmán, aka “Sony” in the underwater-research scene, is passionate about sardines, particularly those caught in the Philippines.

In fact, she is so fond of the tiny pelagic fish that she flew all the way from Manila to Vancouver Island to present at the “Drivers of Dynamics of Small Pelagic Fish Resources” symposium, organized by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea and the North Pacific Marine Science Organization.  Continue reading

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The Sea Around Us expands its global presence

Dr. Dirk Zeller, lead of the Sea Around Us – Indian Ocean node

Dr. Dirk Zeller, lead of the Sea Around Us – Indian Ocean node. Photo by Valentina Ruiz Leotaud

We are proud to announce that Dr. Dirk Zeller, Senior Scientist and the Executive Director of the Sea Around Us has been appointed as Professor of Marine Conservation at the University of Western Australia (UWA), a new position created at the UWA School of Biological Sciences and the UWA Oceans Institute. Dr. Zeller’s appointment supports the establishment of the Sea Around Us – Indian Ocean node at UWA.

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“An Ocean Mystery: The Missing Catch” to screen at UBC

Missing Catch invitation 2

Following its premiere on Earth Day at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and on the Smithsonian Channel, award-winning ocean conservation film An Ocean Mystery: The Missing Catch will screen in Vancouver on April 28, 2017.

Join the Sea Around Us for this free screening at UBC’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries – in the AERL Lecture Theatre (Room 120), 2202 Main Mall. Screening will start at 11 a.m. RSVP REQUIRED.

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Unexpected findings in West Africa

Sarah Popov and Dyhia Belhabib. Photo by Valentina Ruiz Leotaud

As we mentioned in a previous blog post, Dyhia Belhabib, Program Manager-Fisheries for Ecotrust Canada and a West Africa advisor to the Sea Around Us, and Sarah Popov, a research assistant at the Sea Around Us, were invited to Senegal by the MAVA Foundation with the aim of meeting a range of fisheries stakeholders and addressing the main challenges the subregion’s fishing sector is facing.

The pair left Vancouver on February 19, 2017 with their hopes high and a scheduled packed with workshops and community engagement activities.

However, it took them almost twice the estimated time to arrive in Senegal for their week-long stay.

WATCH THE VIDEO

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