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Sea Around Us project newsletter, issue 23, May/June 2004 Forrest, Robyn; Sea Around Us Project May 31, 2004

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SSSS Seeee e aaaa a     AAAA Arrrr r ouououou ounnnn ndddd d     UUUU Ussss sThe Sea Around Us Project NewsletterIssue 23 – May/June 2004Assessing biodiversity lossin the oceans: acollaborative effort betweenthe Convention on BiologicalDiversity and the SeaAround Us projectbyMarjo Vierros,Secretariat of the Convention on BiologicalDiversity, Montreal, CanadaandDaniel Pauly, Sea Around Us projectThe Sea Around Usproject (SAUP) andthe Secretariat of theConvention on BiologicalDiversity (CBD) willcollaborate on assessingtrends in biodiversity in theworld’s oceans.  Thiscollaborative effortbetween the Montreal-based CBD Secretariat andthe SAUP, based at theFisheries Centre, UBC,Vancouver, has its origin inthe CBD’s need for reliableinformation on the state ofmarine biodiversityworldwide, and on how it isimpacted by fisheries. TheCBD, for example, needs toknow what has happenedto biodiversity in the oceansduring the past 50 years,and what is likely to happenif present trends continue.Such information can thenbe used to support globalpolicy decisions addressingthe current biodiversitycrisis. It is important thatsuch policy decisions aresupported by the bestavailable science. However,in many cases, the requiredscientific information is onlyavailable piecemeal, if at all,and its accuracy cannot beverified.  The SAUP, inconstructing its globaldatabases, offering accessto a wide range of marinefisheries and ecosystem-related data (seewww.seaaroundus.org), is inthe process of addressingthis problem.The CBD was adopted in1992 at the Earth Summit inRio de Janeiro. For the firsttime in history, the globalcommunity decided toaddress biodiversity issuesthrough a comprehensive,international treaty, and inso doing, explicitly statedthat the conservation ofbiodiversity is a commonconcern to humankind. TheConvention establishesthree main goals: theconservation of biologicaldiversity, the sustainable useof its components, and thefair and equitable sharing ofthe benefits arising fromthe utilization of geneticresources. The CBD adopts aholistic approach to theconservation andsustainable use of theEarth’s entire wealth ofliving organisms, coveringall ecosystems and species,Continued on page 2 - CBDPage 2Sea Around Us – May/June 2004The Sea Around Us project newsletter ispublished by the  Fisheries Centre at theUniversity of British Co-lumbia. Includedwith the FisheriesCentre’s newsletterFishBytes,six is-sues of this news-letter are pub-lished annually.Subscriptions arefree of charge.Our mailing address is: UBC Fisheries Cen-tre, Lower Mall Research Station, 2259 LowerMall, Vancouver, British Columbia, 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 Robyn Forrest, Sea Around UsNewsletter 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 areasof culture, education, the environment, health and human serv-ices, public policy and religion. Based in Philadelphia, theTrusts make strategic investments to help organisations andcitizens develop practical solutions to difficult problems. In2000, with approximately $4.8 billion in assets, the Trustscommitted over $235 million to 302 nonprofit organisations.as well as the diversity withinspecies. Because of thisapproach, the Convention isbroad and ambitious in scope. Itis now the largest environmentconvention, with 188 Parties,and its coverage is almostuniversal.After some twelve years, theCBD is gradually making thetransition from policy toimplementation.  Thus, theParties to the Convention haveset themselves the difficulttarget of achieving by 2010  a“significant reduction of thecurrent rate of biodiversity loss”.This target, the “2010biodiversity challenge”,  is meantto inspire practical actionresulting in measurable benefitsto biodiversity.  Although theCBD has yet to define what“significant reduction” means,there is now increasingmomentum towards putting inplace measures that will lead toreduction in biodiversity loss.This implies that globalindicators are needed tomeasure progress made towardsachieving the 2010 target.It is this need for science-basedindicators which catalyzed thecollaboration between the CBDand the SAUP.  The difficulties ofmeasuring the achievement of alargely inspirational target withreal and measurable indicatorsare considerable. But in anattempt to do just this, the CBD’shighest body, the Conference ofthe Parties, adopted in February2004 a number of globalindicators1 (Box 1). One of theseis the change in trophic level inmarine fisheries catches, or inCBD’s parlance, the “marinetrophic index”.   This indicatorwas included as a measure ofecosystem integrity andsustainability of fisheries, andwas selected because of itsproven relevance and reliabilityas a measure of human impacton exploited marine ecosystems,i.e., of “fishing down marinefood webs”.2  The Parties to theCBD envisioned that thisindicator would be calculatedglobally and regionally fromfisheries data, and would bepresented as a time series,which would start as far back intime as possible, and forward to2010.The calculation of this indicatorwill require reliable time seriesof fisheries catch data at globaland regional scales. Nationallevel data will also be required,as it is likely that countries willuse the indicator for their ownmonitoring efforts.  Theseparation of high seas catchesfrom those obtained withincountries’ EEZs is also important,given current internationalefforts to protect high seasbiodiversity.  Here, the SAUP’sdatabase of geo-referencedfisheries catches will be crucial,as it provides data at each of therequired scales for calculation oftrophic level changes. The otherSAUP  databases, such as thoseon marine biodiversity andbiomass trends, will provide acontext for assessing marinebiodiversity in a more generalsense. With this in mind, theExecutive Secretary of theConvention on BiologicalDiversity has formally invited theSAUP to help the CBD inassessing trends in marinebiodiversity up to the year 2010.The SAUP will also contribute toanother important globalassessment need of the CBD, onthe status of marine protectedareas (MPAs).  As described in aprevious  issue  of the SAUPNewsletter, the PhD projectcarried out, with the support ofWWF and the UNEP WorldConservation Monitoring Centre(WCMC), by Ms Louisa Wood atthe Fisheries Centre, devoted toa global assessment of MPAs,3CBD - Continued from page 1Continued on page 4 - CBD... the Partiesto theConventionhave setthemselvesthe difficulttarget ofachieving by2010  a“significantreduction ofthe currentrate ofbiodiversityloss”Page 3 Sea Around Us – May/June 2004Box 1. Provisional indicators for assessing progress towards the CBD 2010biodiversity target. The ‘marine trophic index’ is the CBD name for meantrophic level, as used by SAUP to document fisheries impacts onocean ecosystems.Status and trends of thecomponents of biologicaldiversityA: Focal areaB: Indicator forimmediate testingC: Possible indicators fordevelopment by SBSTTAor Working GroupsTrends in extent of selectedbiomes, ecosystems and habitatsTrends in abundance anddistribution of selected speciesCoverage of protected areasChange in status of threatenedspecies (Red List indicator underdevelopment)Trends in genetic diversity ofdomesticated animals, cultivatedplants, and fish species of majorsocioeconomic importanceSustainable use Area of forest, agricultural andaquaculture ecosystems undersustainable managementProportion of products derivedfrom sustainable sourcesEcosystem integrity andecosystem goods and servicesApplication to freshwater andpossibly other ecosystemsConnectivity/fragmentation ofecosystemsIncidence of human-inducedecosystem failureHealth and well-being of peopleliving in biodiversity-based-resource dependentcommunitiesMarine trophic indexWater quality in aquaticecosystemsBiodiversity used in food andmedicineStatus of traditionalknowledge, innovations andpracticesStatus and trends of linguisticdiversity and numbers ofspeakers of indigenouslanguagesFurther indicators to beidentified by WG-8jStatus of access and benefit-sharingIndicator to be identified by WG-ABSThreats to biodiversity Nitrogen depositionNumbers and cost of alieninvasionsStatus of resource transfers Official development assistanceprovided in support of theConvention (OECD-DAC-Statistics Committee)Indicator for technology transferglobalindicatorsare neededto measureprogressmadetowardsachievingthe 2010targetPage 4Sea Around Us – May/June 2004Reconstruction of coral reeffisheries catches for U.S.-associated islands in theWestern Pacific Regionby Dirk ZellerFisheries resources haveplayed a fundamental rolein shaping Pacific islandcommunities for centuries.While pelagic fisheries are thecommercially most importantfisheries in the U.S.-associatedislands managed by the WesternPacific Fishery ManagementCouncil (WPFMC, see Figure 1),inshore coral reef fisheries aregenerally of more fundamentalsocial and cultural importance.However, while catches for thelarge-scale pelagic fisheries tendto be  documented, catches forthe small-scale, artisanal fisheriesoften are not, or areincompletely reported. Hence,extractions of these marineresources usually remainunaccounted for in regional andglobal statistics (Pauly, 1998).Reconstruction of historic catchtime series often requiresinterpolation and boldassumptions, justified by theunacceptable nature of thealternative, i.e., acceptingcatches of fisheries known toexist to be zero (Pauly, 1998,Zeller et al., 2001). Withoutaccounting for fisheries catchesfor all sectors, we cannot obtaina measure of the true value ofthese resources to thecommunities, or of the risks theirloss through overfishing mayrepresent for Pacific islandsocieties. This is especially aconcern, given that humanpopulation growth rates in someareas of the Pacific (e.g.,American Samoa) are among thehighest in the world and naturalresources in the small Pacificislands are limited and declining(Craig, 1995).  It is thus evidentthat reconstructing historiccatches, especially for thegenerally unreported small-scalecoral reef fisheries, is crucial forestablishing baselines forfisheries management andconservation, and themaintenance of the livelihoodsand cultures of island societies.Hence, following a visit toHonolulu and presentation byContinued on page 5 - Pacificwill not only provide informationtowards another indicatoridentified by the CBD (coverageof protected areas, see Box 1),but also fulfills a direct mandateof the CBD to improve availabledata on MPAs globally. Thismandate originates from the lastmeeting of the Conference ofthe Parties in Kuala Lumpur,Malaysia, which recognized thatthe documentation of existingMPAs was insufficient, and that anew global MPA database shouldbe developed.4We anticipate that other areas ofoverlap between the CBD andthe SAUP will emerge, leading,in the future, to an even closercollaboration between the CBDand the SAUP.Footnotes1 Decision VII/30 of theConference of the Parties to theConvention on BiologicalDiversity (http://www.biodiv.org/decisions/default.aspx)2 Pauly, D., Christensen, V.,Dalsgaard, J., Froese, R. & TorresJr., F. 1998. Fishing Down MarineFood Webs. Science 279: 860-863.3 Wood, L. 2004. A GlobalAssessment of Marine ProtectedAreas: A New Sea Around UsInitiative. Sea Around UsNewsletter Issue No. 21(January/February 2004)4 Decision VII/5 of theConference of the Parties to theConvention on BiologicalCBD - Continued from page 2Erratum: SeaSnakesIn a recent article (‘Themarine reptile database’, SeaAround Us Issue 21, p. 6), westated that there are 175species of sea snakes.Actually, two of these arefreshwater species, eventhough they are commonlyreferred to as sea snakes(Hydrophis semperi andLaticauda crockeri).  L.crockeri is the IUCN redlisted species mentioned inthe article.Diversity (www.biodiv.org/decisions/default.aspx).Reconstructinghistoriccatches,especiallyfor thegenerallyunreportedsmall-scalecoral reeffisheries, iscrucial forestablishingbaselines forfisheriesmanagementandconservationPage 5 Sea Around Us – May/June 2004Daniel Pauly, in early 2004, theSea Around Us project signed aresearch agreement with theWPFMC to undertake a catchreconstruction exercise for theU.S.-associated islands in thewestern Pacific, specificallyAmerican Samoa, Guam, theNorthern Mariana Islands (CNMI)and Hawaii. The project willassemble and utilize all availabledata and information on coralreef fisheries between 1950 andthe present, and deriveestimates of total removal ofcoral reef fisheries resources forthis period.Thus, in March 2004 I visited theWPFMC where I consulted withDr Paul Dalzell (Senior Scientist)and Jarad Makaiau (HabitatCoordinator). I took theopportunity to search theCouncil library for existingreports and reference material,and also received material kindlyprovided by Paul from hispersonal collection. Furthermore,I met with Walter Ikehara andReginald Kokubun from theHawaii Division of AquaticResources, and with DavidHamm from the Western PacificFisheries Information Network(WPacFIN) at the Pacific IslandsFishery Science Centre, NOAAFisheries.  The support andassistance I received from allsides was greatly appreciated.Walter Ikehara and ReginaldKokubun will send us the officialHawaiian landings statistics,which will form the foundationfor the Hawaiian reconstruction,combined with several casestudies that will form anchorpoints for extrapolations ofmissing data. David Hamm hasresponsibility for catch databasesfor American Samoa, Guam, theNorthern Mariana Islands andHawaii. He provided excellentexplanations on the scope andlimitations of the WPacFINdatabases for the islands underhis area of responsibility.Extensive literature searches anddata searches, with theassistance of council stafflocated on the islands (JohnCalvo – Guam; Fini Aitaoto –American Samoa; JackOgomuro – CNMI) hasalready resulted in extensivedata for anchor points andextrapolations.  Additionalvaluable assistance,information and feedback isprovided by others, includingPeter Craig (National ParkService, American Samoa),Kimberly Lowe (HawaiiDivision of AquaticResources) and NancyDaschbach (NOAA,American Samoa).  Weanticipate that by the end of2004 the coral reef fisheriescatches for these islands canbe better accounted for thanat present. This will providethe Council with a betterunderstanding of totalhistoric catches, and the SeaAround Us project with afoundation for extendingthis approach to other coral reefislands.Literature citedCraig P.C. 1995. Are tropicalnearshore fisheriesmanageable in view ofprojected populationincreases? South PacificCommission and ForumFisheries Agency workshopon the management ofSouth Pacific inshorefisheries. SPC, Noumea(New Caledonia). Tech. Doc.Integr. Coast. Fish. Manag.Proj. S. Pac. Comm. 11(Vol.1): 197-208.Pauly D. 1998. Rationale forreconstructing catch timeseries. EC FisheriesCooperation Bulletin 11(2):4-10.Zeller D., Watson R. and Pauly D.(eds.) 2001.  FisheriesImpacts on North AtlanticEcosystems: Catch, Effortand National/Regional DataSets. Fisheries CentreResearch Reports 9(3),254 pp.Pacific - Continued from page 4HawaiianIslandsPalmyra AtollKingman ReefJarvis IslandAmerican SamoaHowland andBaker IslandsJohnston IslandGuamNorthern MarianaIslands WakeIslandMidwayIslandNorthAmericaAsiaAustraliaInternationalDate LineEquatorFigure 1: Area managed by the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council, showingthe EEZs of the U.S. associated islands.  Main areas of coral reef fisheries interest are theinhabited islands of American Samoa, Guam, Northern Marianas and Hawaii.Weanticipatethat by theend of 2004the coral reeffisheriescatches forthese islandscan be betteraccountedfor than atpresentPage 6Sea Around Us – May/June 2004Congratulations toResearch Fellow, DrMaria Lourdes (Deng)Palomares and SAUP PhDstudent, Colette Wabnitz, whohave  both been awarded a MiaJ. Tegner Memorial ResearchGrant in Marine EnvironmentalHistory and Historical MarineEcology.These grants are among the firstin the world awardedspecifically to help scientistsdocument the composition andabundance of ocean life beforehumans altered marineecosystems. This information isimportant for helpinglawmakers, regulators,managers and conservationistsset appropriate targets formarine conservation efforts.In 2004 the MarineConservation Biology Institute(MCBI) awarded 11 of thesegrants (out of 86 applications).Dr Mia J. Tegner, a marinebiologist at Scripps Institution ofOceanography, lost her life inJanuary 2001 while carrying outresearch off Southern California.She studied the ecology of kelpforest communities and abalonepopulations, and was particularlyinterested in understandinghow marine populations andecosystems have changed as aresult of human activities. Thispioneering research earned herappointments as a Pew Fellow inMarine Conservation and as aFellow of the AmericanAssociation for the Advancementof Science.Mia J. Tegner Memorial ResearchGrants were started by MCBI tohonour her memory  with fundingfrom the Oak Foundation, theChristensen Fund and theWeinstein Family Foundation.The title of Deng’s proposal,“Shifting the baseline: aknowledge-base of fishabundance anecdotes from earlyEuropean explorations”,  reflectsher ongoing research inrecovering ‘lost’ biogeographicinformation about fish, stored inmuseum records and collectionsfrom early scientific expeditions(see Sea Around Us, Issue 22, p. 8).Records of observationsindicating abundance of fishspecies at a given time andlocation will be gathered andstructured in a database to beused for analysis of biodiversitytrends (e.g.,  abundance of fishspecies in French Polynesia fromthe time Magellan discovered theislands of Tahiti).  It is hoped thatthis database will providevaluable ‘baseline’ informationdating back to the start ofEuropean exploitation of marineresources.  The searchabledatabase will be made availablethrough www.seaaroundus.org.Colette will use her award to lookat the “Ecological functions,seagrass distribution and theconservation biology of greenturtles in the Caribbean (Cheloniamydas)”.   Specifically, she will (1)develop a model to improve ourcurrent knowledge of the‘ecological role’ of Cheloniamydas; (2) derive estimates ofcarrying capacity of presentdistribution of seagrass beds inthe Wider Caribbean region fromsynthesised and updated habitatmaps in ArcGIS; and (3) compareestimates obtained under (2) tocarrying capacity estimatesderived from past seagrassdistribution in the region.  As aresult, the model derived willallow her to evaluate how manygreen turtles are required in theWider Caribbean region in orderto fulfil their ecological role, giventhe present areal distribution ofseagrass estimated.MCBI (www.mcbi.org) is anonprofit science organization,founded in 1996 and based inWashington State, dedicated toadvancing the science of marineconservation biology andpromoting cooperation essentialto protecting, restoring andsustainably using the living sea.Two Sea Around Us members winMia J. Tegner MemorialResearch GrantsSeaaroundus.org gets write-up in ScienceThe Sea Around Us  webproducts page(www.seaaroundus.org),which we launched in the lastissue of this newsletter (SeaAround Us Issue 22), hasThesegrants areamong thefirst in theworldawardedspecificallyto helpscientistsdocumentthecompositionandabundanceof oceanlife beforehumansalteredmarineecosystemsreceived attention in Sciencemagazine’s NetWatch (Science305, 9 July 2004, p. 157).  This isa welcome piece of publicitythat we hope will help increaseawareness of our extensiveonline resources amongfisheries practitioners around theworld, particularly those withdata-limitations or limited accessto fisheries-relatedinformation.

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