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.

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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.

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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.

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Facing extinction- African penguin- Photo by David Grémillet.

Industrial fisheries are starving seabirds all around the world

Facing extinction- African penguin- Photo by David Grémillet.

Facing extinction- African penguin- Photo by David Grémillet.

Industrial fisheries are starving seabirds like penguins and terns by competing for the same prey sources, new research from the French National Center for Scientific Research in Montpellier and the Sea Around Us initiative at the University of British Columbia has found.

In a study published today in Current Biology, researchers found that annual seabird food consumption decreased from 70 to 57 million tonnes between 1970 and 2010. Meanwhile, fisheries increased their catches of potential seabird prey from an average of 59 million tonnes in the 1970s and 80s to 65 million tonnes per year in recent years.

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