The Sea Around Us at Vancouver’s March for Science (PHOTOS)

Photo by Deng Palomares

Photo by Deng Palomares

“It was the most organized, punctual march I’ve ever attended,” the Sea Around Us‘ Graduate Student Madeline Cashion said about the March for Science that took place in Vancouver on April 22, 2017.

Some 500 people gathered at Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza and, at 10 a.m., they started walking towards Creekside Park near Science World. Once there, an array of figures such as Dr. Scott Sampson, Paleontologist & CEO of Science World; Erin A’tman Ryan, Research Coordinator with the BC SPCA and member of the Syilx (Okanagan) Nation; and Marine Biologist Abby Schwarz, among others, gave speeches that touched upon the importance of academic freedom and evidence-based policy making, the cuts to scientific research funding proposed by the U.S. government, and climate change denial.

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Photo by Elias Levy, Flickr.

Three cheers for biodiversity

Photo by Elias Levy, Flickr.

Photo by Elias Levy, Flickr.

Text by Daniel Pauly

Yes, the 6th Extinction is underway, and we are going to lose quite a bit of the Earth’s biodiversity, both terrestrial and marine, because of our agriculture, our fisheries, and because there are so many of us. But we should try to minimize the loss, using all the tools at our disposal.

One of these tools is slowing down, or even reversing, the rate at which we expand into and thus transform and ultimately destroy natural ecosystems and their biodiversity. On land, this consists of creating parks where the natural vegetative cover, notably forests, can maintain or reestablish itself, and provide habitats for animals that cannot live in landscapes shaped by agriculture.

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On meeting the Dalai Lama

Daniel Pauly and the Dalai Lama

Text by Daniel Pauly

On March 17, I met the Dalai Lama for a brief moment, following a long keynote speech he gave at a conference on ‘Buddhism in the 21st Century’, held in Lalanda, in the Indian State of Bihar.

It was not that I had suddenly given up on my freedom from religion. Rather, when I was invited to participate in this conference – along with a few western scientists involved in environmental conservation and animal welfare – I did not find any good reason why I should not accept, given that Buddhism appears to be the rare faith that does not require you to check your knowledge of physics, biology and history, as well common sense at the door.

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Teaching about Filipino sardines in Canada

Amy Coghlan, Eric Sy, Sony de Guzmán, Gordon Tsui, Sarah Popov. Photo by Deng Palomares

Amy Coghlan, Eric Sy, Sony de Guzmán, Gordon Tsui, Sarah Popov

Asunción de Guzmán, aka “Sony” in the underwater-research scene, is passionate about sardines, particularly those caught in the Philippines.

In fact, she is so fond of the tiny pelagic fish that she flew all the way from Manila to Vancouver Island to present at the “Drivers of Dynamics of Small Pelagic Fish Resources” symposium, organized by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea and the North Pacific Marine Science Organization.  Continue reading

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The Sea Around Us expands its global presence

Dr. Dirk Zeller, lead of the Sea Around Us – Indian Ocean node

Dr. Dirk Zeller, lead of the Sea Around Us – Indian Ocean node. Photo by Valentina Ruiz Leotaud

We are proud to announce that Dr. Dirk Zeller, Senior Scientist and the Executive Director of the Sea Around Us has been appointed as Professor of Marine Conservation at the University of Western Australia (UWA), a new position created at the UWA School of Biological Sciences and the UWA Oceans Institute. Dr. Zeller’s appointment supports the establishment of the Sea Around Us – Indian Ocean node at UWA.

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“An Ocean Mystery: The Missing Catch” to screen at UBC

Missing Catch invitation 2

Following its premiere on Earth Day at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and on the Smithsonian Channel, award-winning ocean conservation film An Ocean Mystery: The Missing Catch will screen in Vancouver on April 28, 2017.

Join the Sea Around Us for this free screening at UBC’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries – in the AERL Lecture Theatre (Room 120), 2202 Main Mall. Screening will start at 11 a.m. RSVP REQUIRED.

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Unexpected findings in West Africa

Sarah Popov and Dyhia Belhabib. Photo by Valentina Ruiz Leotaud

As we mentioned in a previous blog post, Dyhia Belhabib, Program Manager-Fisheries for Ecotrust Canada and a West Africa advisor to the Sea Around Us, and Sarah Popov, a research assistant at the Sea Around Us, were invited to Senegal by the MAVA Foundation with the aim of meeting a range of fisheries stakeholders and addressing the main challenges the subregion’s fishing sector is facing.

The pair left Vancouver on February 19, 2017 with their hopes high and a scheduled packed with workshops and community engagement activities.

However, it took them almost twice the estimated time to arrive in Senegal for their week-long stay.

WATCH THE VIDEO

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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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The Women in the Sea Around Us

It is no secret that the proportion of women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) is much lower than that of men. According to the global non-profit organization Catalyst, women accounted for less than a third (28.4 per cent) of those employed in scientific research and development across the world in 2013.

In Canada specifically, the percentage of women working in the STEM fields has increased only by 2 per cent in the past three decades to 22 per cent in 2015 from 20 per cent in 1987.

Things are slowly improving, but there is still a long way to go. This is why at the Sea Around Us we thought it was important to introduce you, our readers, to the female scientists whose work is key to the success of our project.

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Challenges in West Africa

Sarah Popov and Dyhia Belhabib.

Without a doubt, team efforts generate the best results.

With this mindset, a couple of scientists embarked on a journey to West Africa on February 18, 2017.

Dyhia Belhabib, Program Manager-Fisheries for Ecotrust Canada and a West Africa advisor to the Sea Around Us, and Sarah Popov, a research assistant at the Sea Around Us, were invited to Senegal by the MAVA Foundation with the aim of meeting a range of fisheries stakeholders and addressing the main challenges the subregion’s fishing sector is facing.

Senegal was the country of choice because that is where West Africa’s Fisheries Commission is based.

Dyhia Belhabib and Sarah Popov explain more in the following video.

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