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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Vanishing Fish, Daniel Pauly’s new book is out

Vanishing Fish cover

 

The world’s fisheries are in crisis. Their catches are declining, and the stocks of key species, such as cod and bluefin tuna, are but a small fraction of their previous abundance, while others have been overfished almost to extinction. The oceans are depleted and the commercial fishing industry increasingly depends on subsidies to remain afloat.

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The importance of coastal fisheries

Fisher, Solomon Islands. Photo by Jan van der Ploeg, WorldFish, Flickr.

Fisher, Solomon Islands. Photo by Jan van der Ploeg, WorldFish, Flickr.

The Sea Around Us’ Deng Palomares and Daniel Pauly have just added a new item to their long list of publications: a chapter in Elsevier’s book Coast and Estuaries: The Future.

In their contribution, titled “Coastal fisheries: the past, present and possible futures,” Palomares and Pauly highlight the importance of coastal fisheries by pointing out that they made up 55 per cent of global marine fisheries catch from 2010 to 2014.

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Daniel Pauly’s shifting baselines in The New York Times Magazine

Daniel Pauly’s shifting baselines in The New York Times Magazine

The piece was published earlier this year. However, writing a post about it on the Sea Around Us blog became a timely issue in the past days, given all the extreme weather events that have recently taken place across the world, from the devastation in Puerto Rico caused by hurricane María to the severe drought that has left millions of Ethiopians in need of emergency food assistance.

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