Fisher, Solomon Islands. Photo by Jan van der Ploeg, WorldFish, Flickr.

The importance of coastal fisheries

Fisher, Solomon Islands. Photo by Jan van der Ploeg, WorldFish, Flickr.

Fisher, Solomon Islands. Photo by Jan van der Ploeg, WorldFish, Flickr.

The Sea Around Us’ Deng Palomares and Daniel Pauly have just added a new item to their long list of publications: a chapter in Elsevier’s book Coast and Estuaries: The Future.

In their contribution, titled “Coastal fisheries: the past, present and possible futures,” Palomares and Pauly highlight the importance of coastal fisheries by pointing out that they made up 55 per cent of global marine fisheries catch from 2010 to 2014.

Continue reading

Pellizar 133. Photo by O roxo Flickr.

Carbon dioxide emissions from global fisheries larger than previously thought

Pellizar 133. Photo by O roxo Flickr.

Pellizar 133. Photo by O roxo Flickr.

Carbon dioxide emissions from the fuel burnt by fishing boats are 30 per cent higher than previously reported, researchers with the Sea Around Us initiative at the University of British Columbia and the Sea Around Us – Indian Ocean at the University of Western Australia have found.

In a study published in Marine Policy, the scientists show that 207 million tonnes of CO2 were released into the atmosphere by marine fishing vessels only in 2016. This is almost the same amount of CO2 emitted by 51 coal-fired power plants in the same timeframe.

Continue reading

A pair of One-spot Pullers (Chromis hypsilepis) preparing to spawn. Home Bommie, Ulladulla, NSW. Photo by Richard Ling, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Most female fish grow bigger than the males: deal with it!

A pair of One-spot Pullers (Chromis hypsilepis) preparing to spawn. Home Bommie, Ulladulla, NSW. Photo by Richard Ling, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

A pair of One-spot Pullers (Chromis hypsilepis) preparing to spawn. Home Bommie, Ulladulla, NSW. Photo by Richard Ling, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

In over 80 per cent of fish species, the females, including those known as ‘big old fecund females,’ or BOFFS, grow bigger than the males. This long-established fact is difficult to explain with the conventional view of fish spawning being a drain on the ‘energy’ available for growth. If this view were correct, females, which are defined by their larger reproductive effort, would always remain smaller than males.

Continue reading

Dirk Zeller and Daniel Pauly. Photo by Alison Barrat.

Catch reconstructions improve our understanding of fisheries: FAO and the Sea Around Us agree

Dirk Zeller and Daniel Pauly. Photo by Alison Barrat.

Dirk Zeller and Daniel Pauly. Photo by Alison Barrat.

For the first time in over 10 years, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) acknowledged that catch reconstructions, such as those carried out by the Sea Around Us for every maritime country and territory, help fill gaps in national fisheries data and, thus, can illustrate how catches have really changed over time.

In response to this acknowledgement, which appeared in the bi-annual State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture report, known as SOFIA, Daniel Pauly of the Sea Around Us at the University of British Columbia, and Dirk Zeller of the Sea Around Us – Indian Ocean at the University of Western Australia, published a short comment in Marine Policy welcoming what they see as a positive step by FAO in the quest of providing better fisheries data to the global community.

Continue reading

Nukunonu Lagoon in Tokelau. Photo by CloudSurfer, Wikimedia Commons.

Fishing pressure and climate change challenge Tokelau’s food security

Nukunonu Lagoon in Tokelau. Photo by CloudSurfer, Wikimedia Commons.

Nukunonu Lagoon in Tokelau. Photo by CloudSurfer, Wikimedia Commons.

Tokelau’s fish-dependent population may be at risk of seeing its main source of locally available animal protein dramatically reduced if the amounts and species of fish caught by local fishers in their waters stay the same or increase.

According to a study by researchers with the Sea Around Us initiative at the University of British Columbia and the Sea Around Us – Indian Ocean at the University of Western Australia, a small-scale, commercial or artisanal fishery that has been growing since it began in the early 2000s, combined with an expanding foreign industrial fishery that catches most of the offshore fish in the territory’s exclusive economic zone, may threaten people’s access to fresh seafood.

Continue reading