Billions lost as illicit fisheries trade hurting nations who can afford it least

More than eight million to 14 million tonnes of unreported fish catches are traded illicitly every year, costing the legitimate market between $9 billion and $17 billion in trade each year, according to new research.

In a paper published in Science Advances, researchers from the Fisheries Economics Research Unit and the Sea Around Us initiative, both based at UBC’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, as well as the Sea Around Us – Indian Ocean at the University of Western Australia, looked at catch losses for 143 countries and found that significant amounts of seafood are being illicitly taken out of the food supply system of many countries, impacting the nutritional food security and livelihoods of millions.

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Women in UBC Science: Maria ‘Deng’ Palomares

Women in UBC Science: Maria ‘Deng’ Palomares

Women in UBC Science: Maria ‘Deng’ Palomares

Deng Palomares. Photo by Paul Joseph.

Dr. Maria ‘Deng’ Palomares is a senior scientist and the project manager of the Sea Around Us initiative at UBC’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, where she started as a research associate two decades ago.

A marine biologist from the University of the Philippines with a specialization in computer science and a doctorate from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Agronomie de Toulouse, Dr. Palomares arrived at marine biology and fisheries science after switching from the ‘hard-to-stomach’ practices of medical school.

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Recreational fishers catching more sharks and rays

Recreational fishers catching more sharks and rays

Hammerhead shark. Photo by Kris Mikael Krister, Wikimedia Commons.

Recreational fishers are increasingly targeting sharks and rays, a situation that is causing concern among researchers.

A new study by an international team of scientists reveals that recreational catches of these fishes have gradually increased over the last six decades around the world, now accounting for 5-6 per cent of the total catches taken for leisure or pleasure.

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Figuring out how humans have impacted biodiversity through time

Figuring out total human impacts on biodiversity

Figuring out how humans have impacted biodiversity through time

Gulf grouper. Photo by Alfredo Barroso, Wikimedia Commons.

How much have humans affected the population of other species on the planet? A new methodology for documenting the cumulative human impacts on biodiversity aims to answer this question.

Dubbed EPOCH -for Evaluation of Population Change- the methodology was developed by a group of scientists from universities in Europe, Asia, and North America. It provides a standardized framework for organizing disperse data on individual species or populations of animals and plants that have been affected by urbanization, pollution, fishing, hunting, over-harvesting, and other anthropogenic activities.

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New technology allows fleets to double fishing capacity -- and deplete fish stocks faster

New technology allows fleets to double fishing capacity — and deplete fish stocks faster

FishingInfo_Web_650x520

Technological advances are allowing commercial fishing fleets to double their fishing power every 35 years and put even more pressure on dwindling fish stocks, new research has found.

Researchers from the Sea Around Us initiative at the University of British Columbia analyzed more than 50 studies related to the increase in vessels’ catching power and found that the introduction of mechanisms such as GPS, fishfinders, echo-sounders or acoustic cameras, has led to an average two per cent yearly increase in boats’ capacity to capture fish.

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