Photos from Wikimedia Commons.

Illegal foreign fishing and lack of reporting threaten Sierra Leone’s fisheries sector

Photos from Wikimedia Commons.

Photos from Wikimedia Commons.

Illegal fishing accounts for about 30 per cent of catches by industrial foreign fleets in Sierra Leone, says a new study published in Marine Policy.

The paper states that, in the past decade, industrial foreign vessels have increased their presence and illegal activities in Sierra Leonean waters either on their own or by enticing small-scale fishers into illicit partnerships, such as acting as transshipment vessels in nearshore areas.

Reduced monitoring, control, and surveillance, related to the withdrawal of development aid, is spurring unlicensed operations, researchers say. The study estimates that more than 42,000 tonnes of fish were caught illegally in 2015 alone.

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Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary. Photo by  NOAA's National Ocean Service, Flickr.

Marine Reserves help mitigate against climate change

Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary. Photo by  NOAA's National Ocean Service, Flickr.

Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary. Photo by NOAA’s National Ocean Service, Flickr.

Highly protected marine reserves can help mitigate against the impacts of climate change, a study by a team of international scientists has concluded.

Scientists say reserves can help marine ecosystems counter fight five key impacts of climate change: ocean acidification; sea-level rise; increased intensity of storms; shifts in species distribution, and decreased productivity and oxygen availability.

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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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Trends in West Africa Fisheries

Size matters: the impact of artisanal fisheries in West Africa

Trends in West Africa Fisheries

Some artisanal fleets in West Africa have grown so much in terms of number of boats, vessel size and capacity, and the aggregate engine power that they deploy that they have become comparable to the smaller industrial fleets operating in the region.

A new study by the Sea Around Us project reveals that, in the past 60 years, total artisanal fishing effort in the waters that extend from the coast of Morocco to the coast of Angola has increased by 10-fold.

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Cautious fish evolve out of marine reserves

Photo by Matana_and_Jes, Flickr

Photo by Matana_and_Jes, Flickr

New research supports the creation of more marine reserves in the world’s oceans because, the authors say, fish can evolve to be more cautious and stay away from fishing nets.

The research suggests that by creating additional “no-take” areas, some fish will stay within marine reserves where they are protected from fishing. While other fish will move around the ocean, these less mobile fish will continue to live in the protected areas, pass this behaviour on to their offspring, and contribute to future generations, increasing the overall stock.

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