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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Millions of tonnes of prime fish off limits to humans

Every year for the past 60 years, an average of 20 million tonnes of fish caught in the global ocean have not been used to nourish people.

A new study emerging from the Sea Around Us project at the University of British Columbia’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries reveals that from 1950 to 2010, 27 per cent of commercial marine landings were diverted to uses other than direct human consumption.

This trend has not changed in recent years and it poses serious questions regarding food security, as most of the diverted fish are classified as food-grade or prime food-grade.

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Sea Around Us study finds 30 per cent of global fish catch is unreported

Fish basket on head
Countries drastically underreport the number of fish caught worldwide, and the numbers obscure a significant decline in the total catch .

The new estimate, released today in Nature Communications, puts the annual global catch at roughly 109 million metric tons, about 30 per cent higher than the 77 million officially reported in 2010 by more than 200 countries and territories. This means that 32 million metric tons of fish goes unreported every year, more than the weight of the entire population of the United States.

Researchers led by the Sea Around Us, a research initiative at the University of British Columbia supported by The Pew Charitable Trusts, and Vulcan Inc., attribute the discrepancy to the fact that most countries focus their data collection efforts on industrial fishing and largely exclude difficult-to-track categories such as artisanal, subsistence, and illegal fishing, as well as discarded fish. Continue reading

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