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Sea Around Us project newsletter, issue 18, July/August 2003 Forrest, Robyn; Sea Around Us Project Jul 31, 2003

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Sea Around UsThe Sea Around Us Project NewsletterIssue 18 – July/August 2003The Sea Around UsProject (SAUP),named after RachelCarson’s famous book(pictured), formally startedin July 1999,with the goal ofinvestigatingand reportingon the impact offisheries onmarineecosystems.  TheSAUP radicallydiffered fromother projectsthat may haveappeared tohave similargoals in that itwas global in scope, i.e., itwas designed to assess theimpact of fisheries on all ofthe world’s ocean. Thisrequired the developmentof a completely newmethodology forrepresenting fisheries, andfor presenting theirdevelopment and impactsat the scale of oceanicbasins, or even globally.This methodology, largelydeveloped by SAUP teammembers Reg Watson andVilly Christensen, is nowmature and has enabled usto represent, through maps,processes usuallyrepresented as trend lineson bivariate graphs.  It isprobably one of the majorreasons for the visibility ofSAUP results invarious media,ranging fromscientificjournals such asScience andNature, tomagazines (e.g.,ScientificAmerican),newspapers(includingrecently thecover of the‘Science Times’section of the New YorkTimes), TV interviews anddocumentaries and publiclectures and briefings(including on Washington’sCapitol Hill, and Brussels’European Commission).Our focus in the first twoyears of the project was theNorth Atlantic, mainlybecause the abundance offield data, resulting from acentury of trackingfisheries, made it easier totest the methodologyagainst traditionalapproaches, but alsobecause of the criticalaudience provided by themany marine biologistsand fisheries scientists inthe government andprivate laboratories incountries surrounding theNorth Atlantic.We survived this scrutiny,and indeed managed toturn the table on potentialcritics by marshallingevidence in a book titled Ina Perfect Ocean, pointing ata massive decline of theNorth Atlantic resources,attributable to a massivefailure of the regulatoryagencies in the countriesbordering the NorthAtlantic. Ransom A. Myersand Boris Worm, in a widelynoted article in Nature (Vol.423, pp. 280-283) havesince shown that weprobably underestimatedthe decline of large fish inthe North Atlantic - we didnot mind being wrong thatway.The third year of the SAUPessentially consisted ofextending themethodology developedfor the North Atlantic tothe rest of that ocean, i.e.,the tropical WesternFour years of the SeaAround Us Projectby Daniel Pauly Principal InvestigatorContinued on page 2 - SAUP updatePage 2Sea Around Us – July/August 2003The Sea Around Us project newsletter ispublished by the  FisheriesCentre at the Univer-sity of British Co-lumbia. Includedwith the FisheriesCentre’s newsletterFishBytes,six is-sues of this news-letter are publishedannually. Subscrip-tions are free of charge.Our mailing address is: UBC Fisheries Cen-tre, 6660 NW Marine Drive, Vancouver, Brit-ish Columbia, Canada, V6T 1Z4. Our faxnumber is (604) 822-8934, and our emailaddress is SeaNotes@fisheries.ubc.ca. Allqueries (including reprint requests), subscrip-tion requests, and address changes shouldbe addressed to Robyn Forrest, Sea AroundUs Newsletter Editor.The Sea Around Us website may be foundat saup.fisheries.ubc.ca and contains up-to-date information on the project.The Sea Around Us project is a Fisheries Centre partner-ship with the Pew Charitable Trusts of Philadelphia,USA. The Trusts support nonprofit activities in the areas ofculture, 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.Atlantic, from the Gulf of Mexicothrough the Caribbean to Brazil,the west coast of the Africancontinent, and the SouthAtlantic all the way toAntarctica.In the Western Central Atlantic,however, the usually deplorablestate of fisheries statisticsrequired us to devoteconsiderable energy toassemble, in collaboration withscientists in the variouscountries, credible catch timeseries, a process led by DirkZeller, following his completionof similar work in the NorthAtlantic. As well, a large amountof marine biological data wassynthesized in the form ofmass-balance food web(Ecopath) models for differentecosystems in the region,notably the Gulf of Mexico.West African fisheries statisticsare usually in better shape, andthere, we were able to skip thedata reconstruction phase.Rather, emphasis could begiven to synthesis, hereachieved, as for the NorthAtlantic, by integrating Ecopathmodels, many constructed bySAUP staff in collaboration withWest African colleagues, into asingle spatial representation.The resulting maps,documenting strong declines offish biomass along the entirecoast of North West Africa, hada huge media impact followingtheir initial presentation at aninternational symposiuminitiated by the SAUP, and heldin Dakar, Senegal, in June 2002.Coverage of the SouthernAtlantic by the SAUP includedanalysis of the Namibian fisheriesusing various approaches (timeseries of ecosystem indicatorsdocumenting the ‘fishing downmarine food webs’ effect andecosystemmodeling), andmodeling of theSouthern Atlanticand Antarcticsystems, includingthe ecosystemsaround theFalkland Islands, theWeddell Sea and,via Deng Palomaresin collaborationwith a Frenchgroup, theKerguelen Islands.While we shouldsoon be able topresent a regional(South Atlantic)synthesis of theseresults, they havealready found usein some globalanalyses, as theycover the extreme, southern endof the global expansion offisheries that started after WorldWar II and which ended whenlarge trawler fleets beganroutine, if often semi-legal,operations around the AntarcticContinent.The fourth year of the SAUPemphasized the north Pacific,though global analysis by theproject staff as a whole becameSAUP update - Continued from page 1Continued on page 3 - SAUP updateSea Around Us  team members. Top (L-R):  Cindy Young,Vasiliki Karpouzi, Shawn Booth, Deng Palomares, CatrionaDay, Adrian Kitchingman, Daniel Pauly, Reg Watson, SandraPauly, Katia Freire and Juarez Rodrigues.  Bottom (L-R):  VillyChristensen, Dirk Zeller, Jackie Alder and Deng Palomares.... theresultingmaps,documentingstrongdeclines offish biomassalong theentire coastof NorthWest Africahad a hugemediaimpact ...Page 3 Sea Around Us – July/August 2003more common. Emphasis in theNorth Pacific is devoted toseparating strongenvironmental signals, ‘regimeshifts’, from fisheries impacts onecosystems. For this, the SAUPcan rely on a vast trove ofecosystem models and analysis- most conducted with Ecopathwith Ecosim which is nowwidely used by researchers inthe Pacific Northwest. Toachieve some regional balance,construction of models in theEastern North Pacific was alsoencouraged notably to coverthe Sea of Okhost and otherareas along the coast ofnortheast Asia. All of thesemodels explicitly account forinteractions between marinemammals and fisheries whichare extremely important in theNorth Pacific and which will beemphasized in forthcomingpublications.The global analyses conductedin parallel to this regional workcovered the fuel consumptionby the world’s fishing fleets(therein extending globally aprevious analysis which coveredthe North Atlantic alone), andthe creation of a globaldatabase of ex-vessel prices offish, a product that strangelyenough did not exist previously,and which will allow for the firsttime a correct estimation of the‘value’ of fisheries so faroverestimated by the use ofwholesale fish prices. We expectthe publications emanatingfrom these global studies toreframe the context withinwhich fisheries have beendiscussed so far, just as ourprevious analyses of globalcatch trends have.The SAUP project is nowentering its 5th year. Herein,emphasis will be given to small-scale fisheries and their catches,SAUP update - Continued from page 2 notably in countries of thetropical Indo-Pacific. Given thecoastal nature of these tropicalsmall-scale fisheries, dueconsideration will have to begiven to habitat-dependenceand impact of these fisheries,notably on mangrove,seagrasses, coral reefs, etc.,which are now integrated intothe SAUP global database. Thiswork will also feed into theMillennium EcosystemAssessment (MA) within whichthis author has responsibilitywithin the ‘Marine System’chapter and in which JackieAlder plays a key role byconnecting our work to theMA’s coastal chapter and theMA’s Scenario Working Group.Indeed, some of our results onthis are anticipated in acontribution to appear this fallin Science presenting variousscenarios for the developmentof marine fisheries to the year2050.The above account of the SAUPactivities is ratherdry - it fails toconvey theexcitement ofdiscovering newways ofpresentingtrends in globalfisheries, theexcitement ofaudiences andreaders in firstseeing thosepatterns, theexcitement ofvarious mediaoutlets inrecounting themain conclusiondrawn from ouranalyses, etc.However, readersmay perhapspartake in this byvisiting our soonto be improvedwebsite(www.saup.fisheries.ubc.ca)where ourpublications arepresented alongwith a thoroughdocumentationof the mediacoverage bynewspapers,magazines, TV interviews, etc.Readers may also be interestedto view our Web Products, alsoavailable on our website, whichinclude interactive maps ofglobal catches and nationalfisheries, as well as links to afully interactive site about our2002 symposium in Dakar,Senegal.Maps created by Villy Christensen and AdrianKitchingman, illustrating the decline in biomass ofhigh trophic-level fishes over the past 100  years.Top:   estimated biomass distributions of top predatorsin1900.     Bottom:   estimated biomass distributions forthe same in1999, indicating a  decline of more than two-thirds.  Darker shaded areas indicate greater biomass.For a full-colour, animated version of these maps, visitwww.saup.fisheries.ubc.ca/trends.htm.   See alsoChristensen et al. 2003.  Hundred-year decline of NorthAtlantic predatory fishes.  Fish and Fisheries 4, 1-24.... theexcitement ofdiscoveringnew ways ofpresentingtrends inglobalfisheries, theexcitement ofaudiencesand readers infirst seeingthosepatterns ...Page 4Sea Around Us – July/August 2003Earlier this year, Jim Fulton,Executive Director of the DavidSuzuki Foundation, travelled tosouthern Chile and conducted aseries of interviews with rep-resentatives of Chile’s billion-dollar salmon farming industryworkers, conservation groups andthe Chilean government.  Hisfindings raise serious concernsabout the impact of salmonaquaculture on Chilean coastalmarine ecosystems andcommunities and add animportant and timelycontribution to the global debatesurrounding this issue.  Hisfindings and conclusions areexclusively reported below.Chile’s large-scale salmonaquaculture industry wasestablished by Fundación Chile, agovernment-funded institutionformed in 1973, following themilitary coup by GeneralPinochet to replace the dulyelected President SalvadorAllende.  Prior to 1973, chinookand other species of salmon hadbeen introduced into severalriver systems but all had diedout.  Today, the role of theFundación is to conduct basicresearch and testing of newaquaculture methodologies andsell the operations to the privatesector. There are currently about600 licensed salmon and troutmarine sites in Chile and 150licensed lake sites.  Production is30% rainbow trout, 30% cohosalmon (333,000 tonnes ofrainbow trout and cohocombined) and 40% Atlanticsalmon (219,000 tonnes). As wellas salmon, the Fundación ispresently developingmethodologies for farming 12new species including redabalone, flounders, hake,sturgeon and Patagoniantoothfish.Investment in the industry isactively encouraged.Companies can write off 17% ofcosts at all levels if they set upin the two regions south ofPuerto Montt.  Companies alsoreceive a 49% tax reduction ifthey establish businesses in theChilean Antarctic region andthis has led to a massivesouthern expansion of fish-farming, despite the extratransport costs.  The Norwegiangovernment also gives itsnational companies subsidies tooperate in Chile.Globally, annual production offarmed fish is around 45 milliontonnes.  Chile produces theworld’s second-highest yield offarmed salmon (behindNorway), but is expected tobecome number one by theend of 2003.  Of the 45 milliontonnes of fish farmed globally,85% are freshwater species,mainly herbivorous carp andtilapias.  While the percentageof carnivorous marine species issmaller, the effects are thoughtto be significant, largelybecause the production ofcarnivorous fish such as troutand salmon requires 5 kg ofwild fish to produce everykilogram.  Aquaculture currentlyconsumes 70% of the globalsupply of fish oil and 34% of fishmeal, with salmon and troutproduction alone using 54% ofthe world’s fish oil!  The world’slargest fishmeal and fish oilproducers are Peru and Chile,with huge fisheries for sardines,mackerel and anchoviesproviding most of the fish oilused in Chilean aquaculture.There have been seriouscrashes in these fisheries, linkedto overfishing and climaticevents.  For example, catches ofthe South American sardine(Sardinops sagax) crashed from6.5 million tonnes in 1985 to amere 60,000 tonnes in 2001.Expansion of the salmonfarming industry into theChilean Antarctic and interest indeveloping a Patagoniantoothfish aquaculture industryhas led to fears thataquaculture cartels (whichcontrol the production of thefeed as well as owning thefarms) will soon begin massiveexploitation of krill in theAntarctic.  Notwithstanding theexpansion of krill fisheries, theceiling on wild fish oilproduction is expected to bereached in 2005 or sooner.Aware of this and the heavilyover-exploited state of pelagicfisheries, scientists working fortwo of Chile’s major salmon-farming companies (MarineHarvest and Nutreco) havebeen experimenting withdifferent levels of vegetable oilreplacement in fish feed.Currently, most fish feedscontain around 10% vegetableoil and researchers are hopefulthat this percentage can beincreased in the future.Unfortunately, they have foundserious “taste” resistance to fishfed on vegetable oils fromJapanese consumers, who buythe majority of the coho salmonproduced.  Industry willtherefore be returning farmedcoho to feed containing 100%fish oil.Salmon farming in Chileby Jim FultonContinued on page 5 - SalmonCompaniescan writeoff 17% ofcosts at alllevels ...[and]receive a49% taxreduction iftheyestablishbusinessesin theChileanAntarcticregion ...Page 5 Sea Around Us – July/August 2003I met with a team of scientistsfrom Servicio AgricolaGanadero.  This governmentdepartment controls all drugscoming into Chile for use onanimals and registers all drugsand vaccines for fish.  There arepresently 98 products approvedfor fish, 89 pharmacologicaldrugs and 9 vaccines.  During2001, the government of Chilemoved to encourage fishfarmers to use Chilean-madefish vaccines.  At that time, overthree million doses came fromoutside Chile and only 89,000from Chile.  Rather than useChilean vaccines, however, fishfarmers have shifted to puttingmore drugs directly into thefeed as additives, which hasbecome a serious problem.  Inaddition, there are dozens ofother “off-label” drugs used todeal with a vast array ofbacteria, viruses and parasitessuch as sea-lice.I raised the issue of sea-lice withseveral of my correspondents.Most governmentrepresentatives I met wereaware of potential problemsbut did not consider sea-lice aserious enough problem towarrant a shift to closedcontainment cages, despite arecent finding in Chile that, forfish up to 1 kg in weight, it ischeaper (per kilo of fish) to raisesalmon in closed containmentrather than open netcages.Scientists at Fundación Chileacknowledged that sea-lice canbe found on nearshore stocksof schooling fishes but are ofthe opinion that SoutheastPacific sea-lice are smaller andless ferocious than those foundin British Columbia.  There havebeen no studies on rates ofmovement of sea-lice betweenwild and farmed stocks.Regarding pollution, FundaciónChile representatives assuredme that fish farms are workingtogether on developingmethodologies for killing andprocessing the fish to reducethe amount of blood and offalgoing into the environment.Salmon heads, spine, tail andguts are being processed forfish meal (not salmon feed) andfor human uses.  Industryrepresentatives could not,however, give me a satisfactoryanswer about the volume ofwaste that is turned into fish oiland feed.  At an estimated550,000 tonnes of trout andsalmon produced, with 40%waste, we are talking severalhundred thousand tonnes.Other forms of pollutioninclude faeces and coppersulphate, which is still used inmany farms for net-cleaning,even though its use is illegal.The magnitude and ecologicalimpacts of pollution from opennetcages are not beingmeasured or investigated.Escaped salmon and trout havebecome established in manyrivers and streams and there is agreat deal of concern abouttheir impact on fragile coastalenvironments.  As well, thefarms themselves reduce thespace available for localcommercial and subsistencefishers and the fish stocks theydepend upon. The problemscreated for artisanal fishers, forcommunities and for fish in thediet of southern Chileans isgrowing. Twenty-two percent ofChileans are now proteindeficient and this is partly dueto upward price pressure, butalso due to the completedisappearance of sometraditional species from themarkets and the near-shorecatch.  The impacts of salmonfarms and hatcheries infreshwater lakes have beenhorrific.  A knowledgeable localguide took me to Puerto Varason the largest lake in Chile.  Ofthe 17 resident species eaten bylocals, 10 have been extirpated,due to the escape of salmonand trout into the lake andthere is now only licensed“sport” fishing in the lake (forsalmon and trout).  Artisanalfishers at virtually everylocation near salmon farmscomplain of declining catches,which are affecting coastalcommunities with lost jobs.Officially, the problem ismasked by endemic over-reporting of catches to keep upwith quota re-allocationsassigned by the government.As traditional species of fishdisappear from the localmarkets, the number ofChileans at nutritional risk isexpected to rise, especiallysince farmed species areprohibitively expensive in themarkets.  Even though the near-shore zone is “reserved” forartisanal fisheries (and allsalmon farms are in this zone),the government’sEnvironmental Commissioncontinues to approve morelicences.  There are strikingsimilarities here to the inherentconflict of interest seen inCanada, where the regulator(the federal Department ofFisheries and Oceans) acts asthe promoter of salmonfarming.  No-one in governmentseems to actually act to protect,conserve and restore the wildfisheries!  Few studies havebeen done to establish baselineestimates of abundance ofmarine mammals, birds,invertebrates or wild fish,despite a growing body ofevidence of negative ecologicalimpacts.The social problems caused bythe salmon farming industryextend to its workers.  Unionrepresentatives and otherconcerned correspondentsContinued on page 6 - SalmonSalmon - Continued from page 4The impactsof salmonfarms andhatcheries infreshwaterlakes havebeen horrific... of the 17specieseaten bylocals, 10have beenextirpatedPage 6Sea Around Us – July/August 2003painted a worrying picture ofthe industry.  Workers are paidUS$1 per hour (ten times lessthan their equivalents inCanada and Scotland) andmany suffer from repetitivestrain injury and what appear tobe infections caused byantibiotic-resistant strains of thebacteria Streptococcus iniae,resulting from handlinginfected fish.  Of the 24,000member workforce, only 4200are organized.  Strike-action in2001 against one of the majorcompanies resulted in the firingof 57 workers and their black-listing from the industry.Following a recent OECDcomplaint filed in theNetherlands against anothermajor salmon-farmingcompany, two presidents of thesalmon farm unions have“disappeared”.  Thewhereabouts of one is nowknown but he will no longerassist with the enquiry and willno longer meet or talk.  Thewhereabouts of the other isunknown.  The disappearanceof these two men has made theprocess of confirming whatworkers have reported to theunion more difficult to verify forthe international process – anissue already raised by theOECD.  The union in southernChile faces other problems: notonly have two union presidentsdisappeared, it will soon lose itstiny office-space and thenational representative will notassist unionized workers in theirongoing struggle against theindustry cartel, in which salmonfarms, processing plants andfish feed supply are allcontrolled by a handful oftransnational companies.During my trip, I was struckseveral times by the impressionthat pressure tactics andcriminal force are a big problemhere.  In recent months, theoffices of all non-governmentalorganizations working onenvironmental issues inSantiago have been burgled.There is a great degree ofdifficulty with engaging intransparent dialogue on theseissues.I met with a representative ofthe industry’s science andpublic relations arm, INTESAL,but came away with theimpression that it is little morethan a well-funded creature ofthe salmon-farming cartel.  Theyrecognize that there areproblems but will not committo census work, testing fordisease-transfer to the wild,consideration of impacts onmarine mammals or anythingelse.  Rather, INTESAL is seen asa way to get “information” intoschools and communities.Despite these concerns, I didmeet with several scientists andrepresentatives of conservationorganizations who wereattempting to improve the stateof research and monitoring ofthe salmon farming industry.One correspondent outlined hisplan for an international salmonfarm watch website, whichwould list everything from killnumbers of sea lions and birdsto labour issues and criminalconvictions of companies.Access to comparative databetween salmon farmingcountries (such as Canada,Norway and Scotland) would bea great advantage and there is areal need for an independentscience body to compare theimpacts of salmon farms in anumber of internationaljurisdictions.  At present, thegovernment regulatory body ofthe region (the 10th RegionEnvironmental Commission)has no real idea of the impactsof salmon farming; no budgetor staff for basic research; and isforced to rely on industry to “dothe right thing”.  There is also aneed to investigate theindustrial cartel on prices,subsidies, taxation, nationalpolicies, exports and the legalrights of historic users of marineresources.It is my view that a transitionplan back to community-basedsustainable fisheries, thatincludes conservation-basedvalue-added integrated marineindustries, is a matter ofurgency for Chile.  While Chilemay soon be the largestproducer of farmed salmon inthe world there are many signsthat this industry will collapse.Local communities andconsumers must also be givenaccess to factual informationabout the impacts of salmon-farming.  A web-site thataccurately reflects the impactsof the global salmon-farmingindustry must be established bythe academic and non-government community andhigh-profile news stories inpapers such as the New YorkTimes must also be pursued.Salmon farming is but one facetof the international cartel toprivatize the near-shorecoastlines and ocean-bottomsfor everything from algaeproduction to shellfish to fish.Given that the overwhelmingbulk of the world’s marinelandings come from watersunder national jurisdiction, thisis a social, legal andinternational issue that needsimmediate attention in Chileand in all coastal nations.Eds: Readers may be interestedto contrast this article with TheEconomist’s “The promise of ablue revolution” (vol. 368 no.8336, Aug 9-15, 2003, pp 19-21).This article was extracted from alonger report and edited byRobyn Forrest, Sea AroundUs Project.Salmon - Continued from page 5Salmonfarming isbut onefacet of theinternationalcartel toprivatizethe near-shorecoastlinesand ocean-bottoms ...


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