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Sea Around Us project newsletter, issue 50, November/December 2008 Bailey, Megan; Sea Around Us Project Nov 30, 2008

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Sea Around UsThe Sea Around Us Project NewsletterIssue 50– November/December 2008President John Atta-Millsof Ghana and the SeaAround Us Projectby Ussif Rashid SumailaContinued on page 2 -  GhanaProfessor John AttaMills was elected onDecember 28, 2008,to serve as Ghana’sPresident for the periodfrom 2009 to 2013. OnJanuary 7, 1997, Atta Mills,who was then an AssociateProfessor of Law at theUniversity of Ghana, wasappointed and sworn-in asthe Vice President of theRepublic of Ghana, underthe then-electedgovernment of PresidentJohn Jerry Rawlings. AttaMills was later elected byhis party to be its flagbearer,and led them into the 2000elections, which he lost.Once a professor always aprofessor: Atta Mills decidedto go back into academiaafter his electoral defeat,and used the opportunity toreflect on his future and dosome writing (Atta Mills,2002).  In 2001, Prof. AttaMills came to the Liu Centrefor the Study of GlobalAffairs (www.ligi.ubc.ca/),here at the University ofBritish Columbia (UBC) as aVisiting Professor. I met thelaw professor for the firsttime, at a meetingorganized by the LiuInstitute for UBC personswho are interested inGhanaian and African issues.The aim of the meeting wasto have a conversation withthe former Vice Presidentand Presidential Candidateof Ghana. The connectionbetween Atta Mills and mewas made duringintroductions. As soon as Imentioned that I was at theFisheries Centre andexplained the work we do,the professor’s face lit up.He went on to say thatfisheries are a big issue inGhana, and revealed that foryears during his tenure atthe University of Ghana, hehad been advising andworking to defend small-scale fishers against theactions of large fishingcompanies. Over the years,he saw the misery in thefishing communitiesincrease because ofdwindling catches, to theextent that many did noteven bother to go fishinganymore. He further addedthat as Vice President he hasworked to create a newnational fisheries law thatattempted to stem the tideand put Ghanaian fisherieson a sustainable path.Following this meeting, Iinvited Professor Atta Mills togive a talk at the FisheriesCentre, which he didenthusiastically. Given theglobal focus of our work atthe Sea Around Us Project,and the fact that we werethen planning a symposiumin West Africa, Jackie Alderand I co-authored a paperwith the professor fromGhana (Atta Mills, Alder andSumaila, 2004), the highlightsof which were presented byAtta Mills as a keynoteaddress at the DakarSymposium on West Africanfisheries in 2002(www.seaaroundus.org/Dakar/index.htm).We at the Sea Around UsProject can only wish thenew president every successas leader of Ghana at a timePresident of Ghana John Atta Mills.  Photo: attamills2008.comPage 2Sea Around Us – November/December 2008The Sea Around Us project newsletter ispublished by the  Fisheries Centre at theUniversity of BritishColumbia. Includedwith the FisheriesCentre’s newsletterFishBytes, sixissues of thisnewsletter arepublished annually.Subscriptions are freeof charge.Our mailing address is: UBC FisheriesCentre, Aquatic Ecosystems ResearchLaboratory, 2202 Main Mall, Vancouver,British Columbia, Canada, V6T 1Z4. Our faxnumber is (604) 822-8934, and our emailaddress is SeaNotes@fisheries.ubc.ca. Allqueries (including reprint requests),subscription requests, and address changesshould be addressed to Megan Bailey, SeaAround Us Newsletter Editor.The Sea Around Us website may be foundat www.seaaroundus.org and contains up-to-date information on the project.The Sea Around Us Project is a scientific collaborationbetween the University of British Columbia and the PewEnvironmental Group. The Pew Environmental Group is theconservation arm of the The Pew Charitable Trusts, a non-governmental, non-profit organisation. Pew applies a rigorous,analytical approach to improving public policy, informing thepublic and stimulating civic life. ISSN 1713-5214   Sea Around Us (ONLINE)NCEAS: Finding common groundby Dirk Zeller and Reg Watson... help makefisheries inGhana andAfrica workfor thepeople in asustainablemanner.Ghana - Continued from page 1Continued on page 3 - NCEASwhen Africa needs todemonstrate to the world thatthe continent can run flourishingdemocracies that work for itspeople. With respect to fisheries,I believe that President JohnAtta Mills is, most probably, thecurrent sitting president in theworld with the bestunderstanding of the problemsof fisheries in his or her country.I am optimistic that he will usehis considerable influence asPresident of an importantAfrican country to help makefisheries in Ghana and Africawork for the people in asustainable manner.ReferencesAtta-Mills, J., Alder, J. andSumaila, U.R. (2004). Thedecline of a regional fishingnation: The case of Ghana inWest Africa. NaturalResources Forum, 28:13-21.Atta-Mills, J. (2002). Africa in theWorld. A Liu Centre for theStudy of Global Affairs Report,53 pp.: www.ligi.ubc.ca/sites/liu/files/Publications/Africa_in_the_World.pdf.The National Center forEcological Analysis andSynthesis (NCEAS) in SantaBarbara, California, encouragescross-disciplinary research thatutilizes existing data to addressmajor issues in ecology andrelated fields, generally withapplication to management andpolicy. As part of this mission,NCEAS hosts and sponsorstools that have been shown toreverse trends of degradation inmarine fish stocks andecosystems.The central question the workinggroup is trying to answer is: howcan we merge contrastingobjectives, tools, and scientificcriteria among marine ecology,fisheries science, andmanagement into a unifyingframework.In essence, papers published byWorm and others, together withmembers of the Sea Around UsProject (e.g., Worm et al., 2006;Halpern et al., 2008) wereconsidered controversial by somemembers of the marineassessment community. Theycould not, and did not, rely ontraditional stock assessmentmethods. There was much debateabout the application of the meta-methods developed by theseauthors and groups (somethrough the NCEAS workingworking group meetings thatbring together experts fromaround the world. In December,Dirk Zeller and Reg Watson fromthe Sea Around Us Projectparticipated in a working groupmeeting on ‘Finding commonground in marine conservationand management’. This workinggroup is led by Boris Worm andRay Hilborn, and seeks to  findcommon approaches betweenmarine ecologists and fisheriesscientists for assessing the stateof global marine resources. Thisis in the hope of creating a morecohesive front to address marineresource use and current issuesin ocean management. To reachthis, the group is:(1) developing a unifyingterminology and a commonanalytical framework forassessing marine fisheries andecosystems;(2) applying this frameworkto a number of representativemarine ecosystems; and(3) assessing managementsuccesses and failures to identifyPage 3 Sea Around Us – November/December 2008The SeaAround UsProject is anactive partnerin this NCEASgroup.NCEAS- Continued from page 2group approach), and the differentviews that these formed about thestatus of marine stocks bothgenerally and specifically. NCEASsponsored the present workinggroup in an effort to bring togetherproponents of the differentapproaches. The Sea Around UsProject is an active partner in thisNCEAS group. Mapped global catchdata and other informationprovided by the Project have madea significant contribution to severalpublications discussed by thegroup. A mutual understanding isdeveloping of why perceptionsabout the status of marineresources can differ so much andwhat can be done to incorporatemore approaches andinformation. The work to datepromises some very interestingand useful results; watch theliterature for upcomingpublications.ReferencesHalpern, B.S., Walbridge, S., Selkoe,K.A., Kappel, C.V., Micheli, F.,D’Agrosa, C., Bruno, J., Casey,K., Ebert, C., Fox, H.E., Fujita, R.,Heinemann, D., Lenihan, H.S.,Madin, E.M.P., Perry, M., Selig,E., Spalding, M., Steneck, R. andWatson, R. (2008) Mapping theimpact of human threats toglobal marine ecosystems.Science 319: 948-952.Worm, B., Barbier, E.B., Beaumont,N., Duffy, J.E., Folke, C.,Halpern, B., Jackson, J., Lotze,H., Micheli, F., Palumbi, S.R.,Sala, E., Selkoe, K.A.,Stachowicz, J.J. and Watson, R.(2006) Impacts of biodiversityloss on ocean ecosystemservices. Science314: 787-790.GCFI: Good science andmanagement, but where is the publicoutreach?In November, I was invited togive the keynote address forthe 2008 Gulf and CaribbeanFisheries Institute (GCFI) annualconference in Guadeloupe. TheGCFI provides informationexchange among governmental,non-governmental, academic, andcommercial users of marineresources in the Gulf and Caribbeanregion (www.gcfi.org). Theconference provided opportunitiesto present science andmanagement research and issues.After the usual openingceremonies, attended by numerouslocal, regional and nationaldignitaries, I presented the keynoteaddress on ‘Caribbean versus globalfisheries: marine ecosystems, foodsecurity and the data connection’.Throughout the rest of theconference I was approached bymany participants expressing theirsupport for, and understanding of,our work at the Sea Around UsProject, and also their surprise atlearning how widespread fishingconcerns and overfishing problemsappear to be. For me, otherhighlights of the conferencewere Jeremy Jackson’s specialsession keynote address on‘Coastal habitat degradation andfisheries’, and Yvonne Sadovy’s‘Management and conservationof spawning aggregations:lessons learned and futureperfect’.Throughout the conference, Iengaged in the role of placingthe presented local or regionalfindings in a global context.Interesting discussions andquestions arose from this.However, I increasingly becameconcerned by the observationthat no media were present (atleast once the openingceremony dignitaries left). I triedto make the point that the GCFIhas many important scientificstories to tell the general public(the ultimate stakeholder inmarine resources andecosystems), yet it was apparentbefore, during, and immediatelyafter the conference, that theyhad no active outreach programor initiative. I made thecomparison with the InternationalCoral Reef Symposium held inJuly in Fort Lauderdale, which hada well organized and successfuloutreach program, resulting ingood message transfer to thegeneral public. My point was thatGCFI may be missing anopportunity to inform the publicabout science and managementissues in their region of interest,and should seriously considerincluding an active outreachpresence at their next event inVenezuela in 2009. This concern,as well as my presentation onglobal fisheries issues, led toseveral interesting discussions,both during sessions, butespecially during the very friendlyand sociable networking scene. In(typical French?) manner, emailreception was only availablewhile sitting around the hotel bar!This contributed to a veryenjoyable social-scienceexperience which was excellentlymanaged by the very competentand professionalorganizing committee.by Dirk Zeller...GCFI ismissing anopportunityto inform thepublic aboutscience andmanagementissues...Page 4Sea Around Us – November/December 2008Publications Mail Agreement No: 41104508Former post doc William Chueng.                         Photo by Sherman Lai.To William Cheung, on thecompletion of his Postdoc with theSea Around Us Project (2007-2008)by Daniel PaulyWai Lung ‘WilliamCheung, onDecember 31, 2008,completed his Postdoc in thebest manner possible: by movingon to become a ‘Lecturer’ (theBritish way of pronouncing‘Assistant Professor’), at theUniversity of East Anglia.This was not surprising. In hiswork as a postdoc, William hadmanaged to exceed the alreadyhuge expectation we had, basedon his doctoral work. As part ofour team, he was tasked withdeveloping a generic ‘climateenvelope’ model to simulate(predict) the shift towards higherlatitude that marine fishes andinvertebrate (will) experience asa result of global warming. Themodel was developed, writtenand documented (Cheung et al.2007), then applied to the over1000 species of marine fishesand invertebrates for which theSea Around Us Project hasdistributions (and FAO catchstatistics).This led to the supporting studyof Cheung et al. (2008), whichestablished, for the first time, arobust relationship between thedistribution area of fish and thepotential production, otherthings being equal (their trophiclevel, primary production in theirhabitats, etc), and to the firstpaper ever to present maps ofexpected impact of differentglobal warming scenarios on thebiodiversity of the world oceans(Cheung et al., in press). And afourth paper, building on the firstthree, predicting changes inglobal and country-specific catchpotential is under review, all thisbeing done while at the sametime completing the publicationof papers from his doctoralthesis, and patiently andadmiringly helping other peoplewith their research.This work saw us closelycollaborating, and I can’t expresshow much I appreciate thethoughtful exchanges thisgenerated. Fortunately, Williamhas promised to continue ourcollaboration, particularly onglobal warming impact. The nextpaper is planned to include theeffect of declining dissolvedoxygen, which we expect to bevery strong, but have so farignored. Watch this space,...the firstpaper ever topresent mapsof expectedimpact ofdifferentglobalwamringscenarios onthebiodiversityof the world’soceans...therefore, for more news aboutWilliam and his path-breakingwork.In the meantime, we shall wishhim good luck in his newhome. And in order to avoidhim embarrassment with hisnew colleagues, I won’tconclude by quoting the wordshe used when describing thelocal food (I did warn him).References:Cheung, W.,  Watson, R.,Morato, T., Pitcher, T. andPauly, D. 2007. Change ofintrinsic vulnerability in theglobal fish catch. MarineEcology Progress Series.333: 1-12.Cheung, W., C. Close, V.Lam, R. Watson and D. Pauly.2008. Application ofmacroecological theory topredict effects of climatechange on global fisheriespotential. Marine EcologyProgress Series 365: 187-193.Cheung, W., Lam, V. and Pauly,D. (Eds). 2008. ModellingPresent and Climate-shiftedDistribution of MarineFishes and Invertebrates.Fisheries Centre ResearchReport 16(3), 72 p.Cheung, W., Lam, V.,Sarmiento, J.L., Kearney, K.,Watson, R. and Pauly, D.Projecting global marinebiodiversity impacts underclimate change scenarios.Fish  and Fisheries[in press]Page 5 Sea Around Us – November/December 2008Continued on page 6 - BalticDumb as a cod:Fisheries in the Baltic Seaby Peter Rossing and Dirk ZellerHistoric chronicles fromthe monk Saxo in the12th century suggest thatthe oars from fishing boatswould get stuck in large schoolsof herring during their migrationthrough the Sound of Denmark.The abundance of herring wassuch that they could be caughtwith bare hands and literallyshoveled into barrels(Grammaticus, 1980).Herring was a highly valuedexport commodity, and was animportant part of people’s dietduring Catholic fast.  Cities likeCopenhagen and Lübeck, if notfounded on herring, drew muchof their early wealth from thesale of Baltic Sea herring, and oftheir control of the salt requiredfor preservation (Grammaticus,1980).  The historic importanceof fishing in the Baltic Sea is suchthat many metaphors commonlyused today relate to fish.  InDanish, something worthless is‘not worth five sour herrings’, abeautiful woman is a ‘deliciousherring’, and if somebody callsyou ‘dumb as a cod’ you havelikely done something of thelowest intelligence.  A majornewspaper even has the ‘newyear cod prize’ that is given to thepolitician who made the biggestblunder during the year.Ironically, this appreciation of codis a fitting description for how themanagement of the fisheriesresources in the Baltic Sea hasgone awry.  The once abundantcod is now at risk of stockcollapse as the Baltic countries(Denmark, Sweden, Germany,Poland, Russia,Lithuania, Estonia,Latvia and Finland)continue tosidestep and ignoreInternationalCouncil for theExploration of theSea’s (ICES)scientificrecommendationsfor a completemoratorium,because they cannotagree on terms(WWF, 2008).  Other species alsoin trouble are eel, which havegone nearly commercially extinct,and salmon, which now containso much dioxin that fish over 4.4kg are deemed unfit for humanconsumption (Lövin, 2007).Eutrophication is also a substantialproblem as the Baltic Sea is nowregularly hit by massive toxicblooms of blue-green algae andby anoxic events which leavelarge areas lifeless during thesummer season (ELME, 2007).A Swedish businessman, BjörnCarlson, decided in 2006 toactively contribute to reversingthese disastrous developmentsby setting up the Baltic Sea 2020Foundation (www.balticsea2020.org). His 500 million SEK(US$ 60 million) person donationrepresents the single largestever made in Sweden.  Theentire capital is to be used by2020, hence the name of thefoundation.  The aim is tostimulate concrete measures toimprove the environmentalquality of the Baltic Sea.The Sea Around Us Project iscontributing to the work of theBaltic Sea 2020 Foundation byreconstructing total catch timeseries for all Baltic countriesfrom 1950.  Only the landingsfrom commercial fisheries havetraditionally been reported fromthe Baltic countries, andincompletely at that.  It istherefore widely recognizedthat the region’s official statisticsunderestimate true catch(although formal stockassessments do accountconservatively for discarding), asthey do not take into accountIllegal, Unreported andUnregulated (IUU) catches.Policy makers have thereforehistorically underestimated theimpact of fishing on stocks, andhence on the decline seen insome of the Baltic fisheries.Our work, when completed inApril 2009, will provide a betterbaseline for analyzing long-termtrends by going beyond what isofficially reported by the Balticcountries’ governments (andhence ICES) from 1950 to thepresent.The basic approach to, andphilosophy behind, catchreconstructions is described inThe onceabundant codis now at risk ofstock collapseas the Balticcountriescontinue tosidestep andignore ICESrecommen-dations.Magnus, Olaus. (1555) Historia de GentibusSeptentrionalibus. Description of the NorthernPeoples.  Image obtained with thanks from CallumRoberts, University of York, UKPage 6Sea Around Us – November/December 2008Baltic - Continued from page 5Zeller et al. (2006; 2007). Inessence, we utilize every data-and information-source availableto us (including grey literature,media sources and expertknowledge) to obtain data‘anchor points’ in time regardingnominal and IUU catches(including recreational), as wellas discards.  We have alsoendeavored to establishcollaborations with local in-country experts in the Balticregion, as local input, knowledgeand experience are particularlyvaluable in helping us todevelop reasonable data timeseries.  Therefore, Peter Rossinghas been busy over the last 8months establishing andnurturing, relationships withscientists in the Baltic region thatshare an interest in collaboratingwith us.  We have successfullyestablished collaborations inSweden, Finland, Germany,Russia, Lithuania and Latvia, andhave been able to get access tomaterial and sources fromPoland. As a Dane, it has been aparticular privilege for Peter totravel around the Baltic region.Generally, our request forcollaboration and advice hasbeen well-received, as mostpeople appreciate the relevanceof what we are trying to achieve.The goodwill and informationgenerated from these meetingsand collaborations cannot beunderestimated.However, a substantial problemhas been the political sensitivityover access to existing spatiallydisaggregated discard and illegalcatch data, despite the fact thatmost government institutions inthe Baltic and ICES have accessto such data. ICES, for example,utilizes such discard data toimprove their yearly stockassessments and fisheries adviceto the European Union.However, they are underconsiderable political pressurenot to disclose the country-specific disaggregated data, asBaltic country governmentswould be embarrassed ifsingled-out as a major culprit ofillegal activities, or for wastingresources by throwing dead fishback into the sea.Peter found another example ofhow politics can interfere withthe common good when hevisited the Institute for Baltic SeaFisheries in Rostock, Germany.Since 2004, this institute hasbeen conducting extensiverecreational catch surveys. Thisapparently benign projectbecame a political hot potatowhen the results indicated thatcurrent German cod catcheswould be 50% higher ifrecreational catches wereincluded.  Initially, the Germangovernment wanted to closedown the project, however  theresults had already beenpublished. Instead, the Germangovernment is now possiblyfaced with the uncomfortablesituation of making an informeddecision about how to dividetheir total cod quota betweenthe recreational and commercialfishing sectors. It is amazing,given such shenanigans, thatthere are still cod left in theBaltic. Dumb Cod!References ELME. 2007. Baltic Sea. pp. 8-13in Langmead, O., Lowe, C.,and McQuatters-Gollop, A.(Eds). European Lifestyles andMarine Ecosystems -Exploring challenges formanaging Europe’s seas.University of PlymouthMarine Institute, Plymouth,UK.Grammaticus, S. 1980. Thehistory of the Danes. D.S.Brewer, Woodbridge, Suffolk,UK, 528 p.ICES. 2007. Report of the BalticFisheries Assesment WorkingGroup (WGBFAS). ICESCopenhagen, 1-750 p.Lövin, I. 2007. Tyst hav - jakten påden sista matfisken. Ordfront,Stockholm, 200 p.WWF. 2008. A sustainable futurefor Baltic Sea Cod and Codfisheries. WWF BalticEcoregion programme 24 p.Zeller, D., Booth, S., Craig, P. andPauly, D. 2006.Reconstruction of coral reeffisheries catches inAmerican Samoa, 1950-2002. Coral Reefs 25: 144-152.Zeller, D., Booth, S., Davis, G. andPauly, D. 2007. Re-estimationof small-scale fisheriescatches for U.S. flag islandareas in the Western Pacific:The last 50 years. FisheriesBulletin 105:266-277.There are approximately 100 fish species living in the Baltic SeaRegion comprising Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Poland, Russia,Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia and Finland. The fish fauna includemarine (e.g., cod, flatfish, sprat, herring), anadromous (e.g.,Atlantic salmon, and Sea trout) catadromous (e.g., European eel)and  fresh water species (e.g., pike and perch). The diversity,composition and distribution of the Baltic fish fauna isinfluenced by the brackish-water and enclosed nature of theBaltic Sea. The number of marine species is therefore highest inareas near the Danish Straits and diminishes eastwards andnorthwards as salinity decreases. The catches of cod, herringand sprat has, in recent times, accounted for approximately 95%of the reported commercial catches in the Baltic (ICES, 2007).The Baltic Sea


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