Forty-year-old concepts around fish respiration regain prominence in light of climate change

Forty-year-old concepts around fish respiration regain prominence in light of climate change

Forty-year-old concepts around fish respiration regain prominence in light of climate change

Common carp. Photo by Bernard Spragg. NZ, Wikimedia Commons.

Before Dr. Daniel Pauly, now the principal investigator of the Sea Around Us initiative at the University of British Columbia, became a doctoral student, he spent two years doing fisheries work in Indonesia.

Having done his academic studies in Germany, he was surprised to discover a near absence of information on the growth of tropical fish. Thus, upon his return to Kiel University’s Institute of Marine Sciences, he decided to find out how fish grew; the idea was that if general patterns emerged, they could be applied to the many species in Indonesia and elsewhere in the tropics.

His doctoral dissertation was, consequently, built around identifying the factors that govern fish growth.

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Blacktip reef shark

Marine sharks and rays ‘use’ urea to delay reproduction

Blacktip reef shark

Blacktip reef shark. Photo by Ray in Manila, Flickr.

Urea – the main component of human urine – plays an important role in the timing of maturation of sharks, rays and other cartilaginous fish.

A new study by researchers with the Sea Around Us initiative at the University of British Columbia’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries found that high urea concentrations common in cartilaginous fish, particularly oviparous marine species, allow them to mature and begin to reproduce at a larger fraction of their maximal size.

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Planet vs. Plastics - Ghost fishing

Planet vs. Plastics – Ghost nets

Under the campaign slogan of ‘Planet vs. Plastics,’ Earth Day 2024 is focused on environmental activists’ commitment to end plastics for the sake of human and planetary health, demanding a 60 per cent reduction in the production of all plastics by 2040.

Even though the Sea Around Us research doesn’t focus on ocean pollution, there is an evident connection between fisheries and the littering of our oceans.

To illustrate this connection, the above video presents some of the alarming figures related to gear abandoned at sea, which remains in the oceans and often continues to capture fish and other marine animals in a process commonly referred to as ‘ghost fishing’.

A magical weekend of scientific learning and exploring scenic Bamfield

A magical weekend of scientific learning and exploring scenic Bamfield

A magical weekend of scientific learning and exploring scenic Bamfield

Sailing away from Bamfield aboard the MV Frances Barkley. Photo by Anna Luna Rossi.

By Anna Luna Rossi.

It takes about six hours, departing from Vancouver, to reach the Bamfield Marine Science Centre, where was held the 45th annual Pacific Ecology and Evolution Conference (PEEC). Three of those hours consist of sailing on the MV Frances Barkley – a 65-year-old heritage ship originating in Norway that started its current route in 1990 – through the Alberni Inlet from Port Alberni to Bamfield, almost reaching the open ocean in Barkley Sound.

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Citizen Coalition organized by BLOOM

Over 100 NGOs, citizen groups and top figures launch coalition for ocean protection

Citizen Coalition organized by BLOOM

As the French city of Nice begins preparations to host the high-level 2025 United Nations Conference to Support the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14 (conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources), over 100 non-governmental organizations, academic units, celebrities, and civil society collectives have joined forces to launch the Citizens’ Coalition for the Protection of the Ocean.

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Caricature of a snapper created using Adobe Firefly,

Snappy explains how warmer waters from climate change affect fish

Snappy, a snapper living in tropical waters, is the protagonist of a video created to observe World Water Day 2024.

Through his story and in very simple terms, we explain how warmer water than that to which fish are used becomes an aggressor of sorts that impacts internal biochemical processes and forces the fish to stop growing at a smaller size than it would normally do in optimal habitat conditions and move poleward.

Dr. Daniel Pauly and Dr. Rashid Sumaila have launched the Africa-UBC Oceans & Fisheries Visiting Fellows Program. Photo by Kim Bellavance, Tyler Prize.

UBC researchers launch Africa-UBC Oceans & Fisheries Visiting Fellows Program

Dr. Daniel Pauly and Dr. Rashid Sumaila have launched the Africa-UBC Oceans & Fisheries Visiting Fellows Program. Photo by Kim Bellavance, Tyler Prize.

Dr. Daniel Pauly and Dr. Rashid Sumaila have launched the Africa-UBC Oceans & Fisheries Visiting Fellows Program. Photo by Kim Bellavance, Tyler Prize.

University of British Columbia researchers Dr. Rashid Sumaila and Dr. Daniel Pauly have launched the Africa-UBC Oceans & Fisheries Visiting Fellows Program, whose goal is to inspire exceptional young African researchers to develop ocean and freshwater sustainability solutions.

The fellowship is aimed at early-career academics from sub-Saharan African universities and research institutes who are interested in engaging with leading researchers at UBC’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries to facilitate diverse, equitable, mutually beneficial research collaborations.

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Deng Palomares and Belize fisheries 2023-12-06

Belizean fishers want changes in policy and practice to revert declining catch trends

Deng Palomares and Belize fisheries 2023-12-06

The Sea Around Us project manager, Dr. Maria ‘Deng’ Palomares, with Belizean fishers. Photo by the Belize Fisheries Project.

Belizean fishers’ experience in the water confirms the declining trends in fishery catches – and, therefore, in fish populations – uncovered by the Belize Fisheries Project (BFP), of which the Sea Around Us is a member together with Comunidad y Biodiversidad (COBI), the Environmental Law Institute (ELI), Healthy Reefs for Healthy People Initiative (HRI) and MRAG Americas.

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Hammerhead sharks

Shark alert: Global study documents increasing trend in shark mortality, identifies pathways to save threatened species

Hammerhead sharks

Hammerhead sharks. Photo by Masayuki Agawa, Ocean Image Bank.

Sharks have persisted as powerful ocean predators for more than 400 million years. They survived five mass extinctions, diversifying into an amazing variety of forms and lifestyles. But this ancient lineage is now among the world’s most threatened species groups due to overexploitation in poorly regulated fisheries and the proliferation of wasteful finning practices.

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25th anniversary report

Focus on People: Sea Around Us releases 25th anniversary report

25th anniversary report

 

On July 1, 2024, the Sea Around Us initiative based at the University of British Columbia’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries will turn 25 years old.

Still in its young adult years, the project’s accomplishments are no small feat.

From being the only provider of comprehensive global marine fisheries catch data, to estimating that over one-third of their catch is underreported, to assessing the biomass trends of +2,500 fish populations throughout the world and discovering global declines of popularly consumed species, the Sea Around Us has spent a quarter century at the forefront of fisheries science to back marine conservation efforts.

These and many of the other milestones that are presented in this timeline could have not been reached if it were not for the work of the over 200 people from 40 countries that have been part of the Sea Around Us in different capacities. From students to research assistants, from project managers to volunteers, everyone has played a key role in making this initiative successful.

To acknowledge everyone’s contribution, we have produced a report titled Twenty-five Years of the Sea Around Us: Focus on People 1999 – 2024, which is now available on our website.

We hope this report allows readers to have an overview of and better understand the immense effort that was required to bring to life and maintain a project of this magnitude.

We also hope that those who have joined our ranks through the decades will appreciate seeing themselves and others on these pages.