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Sea Around Us project newsletter, issue 9, May/June 2001 Power, Melanie; Sea Around Us Project May 31, 2001

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Sea Around UsThe Sea Around Us Project NewsletterIssue 9 – May/June 2001						The existence of theSea Around Usproject, as for otherlarge projects of this kind,is the results of a gambleby two groups of players:(1) the members of theproject, betting that theycan do what they said theywill, and (2) the decisionmakers of the fundingagency, betting that theproject members will dowhat they said they can.The Sea Around Us projectheld its second majorworkshop from April 22-272001 in Nanaimo,Vancouver Island, toevaluate how our part ofour gamble worked out.The Pew Charitable Trusts,which funds our project,had nominated severalparticipants to also assesshow their part of thegamble worked out.This is to report thateverybody’s gambleworked out: the Project didachieve its goal ofquantifying the large-scaleimpacts of fisheries onNorth Atlantic ecosystems,and the only job still athand now is to completethe documentation ofthese impacts throughvarious outlets that theworkshop helped toidentify.As argued in the proposalthat led to theimplementation of the SeaAround Us project,evaluating fisheriesimpacts on the NorthAtlantic as a whole, i.e., atbasin-wide scale, is notmatter of assembling anumber of illustrative casestudies from sites deemedrepresentative of the entirebasin. (Many suchcompilations already exist,and they tend to bedismissed, as one canalways argue that theexamples are notrepresentative.) Rather, thejob is to identify key datasets capable of being‘mapped’ at large scales,similar to the data-richweather maps which, whilecovering entire continents,still allow direct predictionof the likelihood of sun orrain at any specific locality.One year ago, theSea Around Usproject held aworkshop to review, withthe help of our partners atFAO and in otherinstitutions, the conceptualtoolkit that we thoughtwould help us generatethe required maps. (Thecontributions included inthis report are availableonline atwww.fisheries.ubc.ca)During this year’sworkshop, we got to lookat our first set of freshlyproduced maps (all with aresolution of ½ degreelatitude and longitude).These were:1) Maps of fisheriescatches, for the world as awhole, and the NorthAtlantic in particular;2) Maps of NorthAtlantic catch values;Continued on page 2 -SAUP AccomplishmentsThe Sea Around Us project newsletter ispublished by the  FisheriesCentre at the Univer-sity of British Co-lumbia. Includedwith the FisheriesCentre’s newslet-ter FishBytes,sixissues of thisnewsletter are pub-lished annually. Sub-scriptions are free ofcharge.Our mailing address is: UBC Fisheries Cen-tre, 2204 Main Mall, Vancouver, British Co-lumbia, Canada, V6T 1Z4. Our fax number is(604) 822-8934, and our email address isSeaNotes@fisheries.ubc.ca. All queries (in-cluding reprint requests), subscription re-quests, and address changes should be ad-dressed to Melanie Power, Sea Around UsNewsletter Editor.The Sea Around Us website may be foundat www.fisheries.ubc.ca/projects/saup, andcontains up-to-date information on theThe Sea Around Us project is a Fisheries Centre partnership with the Pew Charitable Trusts of Philadelphia,USA. The Trusts support nonprofit activities in the areasof culture, education, the environment, health and human serv-ices, public policy and religion. Based in Philadelphia, the Trustsmake strategic investments to help organisations and citizensdevelop practical solutions to difficult problems. In 2000, withapproximately $4.8 billion in assets, the Trusts committed over$235 million to 302 nonprofit organisations.3) Maps of fish biomass inthe North Atlantic4) Maps of dietary overlapbetween North Atlantic marinemammals and the fisheries.The catch maps weregenerated using a rule-basedalgorithm developed by RegWatson, running on FAOstatistics and other dataassembled by Ahmed Gelchuand other members of the SeaAround Us team. They allowimmediate identification ofcomplex patterns, be they dueto problems in the underlyingdatabase of catch series, or dueto forcing by biological,physical or other naturalprocesses. Though they werevery well received, we are still abit coy at showing these maps(and hence this article will notpresent any), as they still needsome improvements beforethey are submitted to peer-reviewed journals.Multiplying catches by theirprice allows the values offisheries to be estimated, andthese can also be mapped.However, the work required toproduce such maps can bedaunting. Still such maps didemerge for presentation at ourworkshop, based on priceinformation assembled byproject economist RashidSumaila. We expect these maps,once published, to provide arichly patterned, visualcomplement to the time seriescommonly used to assess theeconomic state of fisheries.Maps of fish biomass are notfrequently used to evaluate thestatus of fish populations,though acoustic, bottom trawland plankton surveys methodsexist which generate spatiallystructured biomass data. VillyChristensen, assisted by CarlWalters, thus undertook to‘spatialize’ the 18 Ecopathmodels of North Atlanticecosystems so far available,either produced by earlierprojects, or by internationalteams of project collaboratorsled by Sea Around Us postdocsSylvie Guénette and Dirk Zeller.(While covering only about ¼of the North Atlantic, thesemodels cover over ¾ of theshelf areas in the North Atlantic,and hence the bulk of thefishable biomass).An elaborate regression modelwas produced which predictedbiomass by trophic level for any½ degree square in the NorthAtlantic (since 1950) based on arelationship betweenestablished Ecopath models,mapped catch data and otherfactors such as distance fromthe coast, depth, year, watertemperature, presence of ice,etc. The resulting, ratherspectacular maps, document adecline of fish biomass in theNorth Atlantic, for the periodfrom 1950 to the late 1990s,notably at high trophic levels,and thus provide an illustration,in space, of the ‘fishing downmarine food webs’phenomenon.The fourth set of maps wediscussed were developed byKristin Kaschner with assistancefrom R. Watson, V. Christensenand others; they identify theareas where the food (type,quantity) taken by marinemammals (cetaceans orpinnipeds, or subgroupsthereof) overlaps with fisheriescatches, and thus leads tocompetition. (The reason forthe increasingly frequentsightings of emaciated marinemammals.)SAUP Accomplishments- Continued from page 1Continued on page 3 -SAUP Accomplishments...everybody’sgambleworked out:the Projectdid achieveits goal... Other, equally importantproject results were presentedby Tony Pitcher and JackieAlder (evaluating thesustainability of North Atlanticfisheries, and the performanceof international fisheriesmanagement bodies), byGordon Munro and RashidSumaila (evaluating themagnitude and effects ofsubsidies to the fisheries sector,and the relative performance ofsmall and large scale fisheries),and by Peter Tyedmers(estimating the fuelconsumption of North Atlanticfishing fleet). These studieseither presented data that willlater be mapped, or conceptsIn the last week of April theSea Around Us Project(SAUP) team, other fisheriesscientists and others from anumber of North Americanconservation-oriented NGOsmet in Nanaimo on VancouverIsland to wrap up the first two-year phase of the project. Theprincipal theme wascommunication – or now thatthe science is done, how do wesend the Sea Around Usmessage to the world?This was the second meetingon the island since the FisheriesCentre launched this Pewfunded venture in August 1999.It was also the second timeAmy Poon and myself wererapporteurs together for theSAUP. The methodology reviewworkshop held in May 2000marked the end of the first yearof the project - a year devotedto developing new tools forecosystem management andassessment of fisheries thatwould be applied to the NorthAtlantic in the second year. Inlast year’s workshop themethodology package centralto the SAUP was presented to agroup of external scientists.This year, Jay Maclean, theproject’s scientific writer,worked hard until late the nightbefore departure-day to finishthe first draft of In a PerfectOcean. The book will bepublished by Island Press earlynext year. It will put togetherthe main findings of the firstphase of the project andtranslate the science into anillustrated narrative of theenvironmental consequencesof half a century of intensive !	  fishing in the North Atlantic.The principle target audience isthe conservation community.However, it should also be ofinterest to fisheries scientists,managers and policy makers aswell as that part of the generalpublic interested inenvironmental affairs. The ideafor the workshop was for theenvironmentalists to help thescientists make In a PerfectOcean an effective tool thatwould be used by theconservation communityworldwide to demand majorchanges in fisheries policy. Thetask was entrusted to CarlSafina, Vice President formarine conservation in theNational Audobon Society, Ms.Nancy Baron from Seaweb, MsLisa Speer, a senior policyanalyst from the NaturalResources Defense Council andDr David Allison, President ofFish Forever and co-chair of theMarine Fish ConservationNetwork. Also present at theworkshop were Jay Nelsonfrom the Pew Charitable Trust,fisheries scientists RichardGrainger and Kevern Cochranefrom FAO, and Dr AndyRosenberg from the Universityof New Hampshire. By bringingtogether fisheries scientists andenvironmentalists in this way,the workshop addressed one ofthe key goals of the Sea AroundUs project – promotingintegration of and collaborationbetween these two groups thatare too often on opposingsides.Participants arrived inNanaimo on Sundayevening for a welcomeSAUP Accomplishments- Continued from page 2that will help interpret thesenew maps.We leave it toforthcoming issues ofthis newsletter toannounce the uses and outletsthat will be found for theseproducts. What we can alreadyanticipate, however, is that the‘mapping approach’ developedby the Sea Around Us projectshould have a strong influenceon the way fisheries areperceived to impact marineecosystems, and on theidentification of the scale atwhich these impacts are beststudied.Daniel Pauly is Principal Investigator ofthe Sea Around Us Project.Continued on page 4 -SAUP Milestones...now thatthe scienceis done,how do wesend theSea AroundUs messageto theworld?!dinner. The workshop took offthe next morning with awelcome address from theproject chair, Tony Pitcher. JayMaclean then introduced thedraft version of In A PerfectOcean, which had beendistributed to all participants.In the first three days, theprincipal investigators of theSAUP presented a summary ofthe methods and results of themajor studies for the NorthAtlantic. The focus of theworkshop was on Wednesdaymorning with a discussionamong all present on the mainissues concerning the what,how, when and where of thepublication process. Most ofthe external visitors left soonafter that, except for DavidAllison who stayed on until theend (“This is too much fun!”).The final day of the workshopwas an internal team meetingto define the logistical detailsfor the wrapping up of the firstphase of the SAUP. The debateconcerned the ‘rollout’procedure for the book, how tofinish the science, publicationof the relevant blue reports,that is Fisheries CentreResearch Reports, and scientificpapers in primary journals.After the meeting, which lastedwell into the afternoon, we allhad a fabulous dinner at aLebanese restaurant – highlyrecommended to any visitor inNanaimo particularly for thedelicious rose-water pudding –and prepared to leave for themainland early next morning, aday earlier than originallyplanned.This workshop gave me aninsight of what the SeaAround Us Project is allabout and I really enjoyed thefeeling of being part of agroundbreaking event thatprevailed throughout the week.Because what emerged fromthe workshop was that theSAUP Milestones- Continued from page 3SAUP has a powerful messagethat ranks as strong as globalclimate change. It is the firstscientifically-based picture,changing in time and space, ofthe fundamental changes inthe marine ecosystems of theNorth Atlantic that havehappened as a result of fishingpressures. It is a concept thatcan be applied to the worldoceans. Just like climatechange, the causes are deeplyembedded in our materialculture. To reverse the trend, aswe must, a change in ourphilosophy of life is required –patchwork solutions won’twork.We hope that the publication ofIn a Perfect Ocean will help.Yvette Rizzo is a PhD student at theFisheries Centre, and, along with AmyPoon, she served as Rapportuer at theApril Sea Around Us workshop.	"#$Dr Daniel PaulyPrincipal InvestigatorDr Villly ChristensenSenior ResearchFellowDr Reg WatsonSeniorResearchFellowMr Nigel HagganProject Co-ordinatorDr Rashid SumailaSenior ResearchFellowDr Tony PitcherChair, Project Steering Committee...SAUP hasa powerfulmessagethat ranksas strongas globalclimatechange...

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