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Sea Around Us project newsletter, issue 45, January/February 2008 Forrest, Robyn; Sea Around Us Project Jan 31, 2008

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SSSS Seeee e aaaa a     AAAA Arrrr r ouououou ounnnn ndddd d     UUUU Ussss sThe Sea Around Us Project NewsletterIssue 45 – January/February 2008Short, cold days and long,even colder nights:A successful arctic catchreconstruction workshop1by Dirk Zeller and Shawn Booth1. This project and theworkshop were funded bythe Lenfest Ocean Program,with excellent workshoplogistics and local contactsfacilitation provided withenthusiasm by JonWarrenchuk and SusanMurray fromOceana - Juneau,  Alaska.It wasn’t above the ArcticCircle, but close enoughfor Sea Around Us projectparticipants Daniel Pauly,Dirk Zeller and ShawnBooth, who presented a talkand conducted a workshopduring the Alaska MarineScience Symposium inAnchorage on January 23-24, 2008. The purpose ofthe workshop was hinted atby the title of Dirk Zeller’ssymposium talk: “No fishcaught in arctic Alaska?Contrasting reported datawith actual catches.”The USA is a membercountry of the UnitedNations Food andAgriculture Organization(FAO), and thus commits toreporting annual fisheriescatches to FAO.Interestingly, anexamination of FAO dataindicates that the USA doesnot report any catches forthe arctic region of itsterritory (i.e., northern partof Alaska, Figure 1), as UScatches for FAO StatisticalArea 18 (Arctic Sea) arezero for the entire 1950-present time period.However, the two mainarctic boroughs of the Stateof Alaska had a humanpopulation of approximately14,500 people in 2005. Themajority of this population isIñupiaq, and is known toextensively engage insubsistence fishing andhunting. Thus, while somefisheries data forsubsistence fishing areavailable via Alaska Stateagencies (e.g., Division ofSubsistence, AlaskaDepartment of Fish andGame, ADF&G), it appearsthat these data do not makeit into the national reportsof fisheries catches that theUS federal governmentsubmits, on behalf of theUnited States of America, toFAO for global reporting.The Sea Around Us projectendeavors to improveglobal data on the impactsof fishing on marineecosystems, and thusengages in catchreconstruction activities inwhich the project utilizes allavailable data andinformation sources toderive estimates that betteraccount for likely trueextractions of marineresources (see, e.g., SeaAround Us Issue 35). Notonly do we utilizecommercial fisheries data(which are generallyreported by official fisheriesdata collection agencies),but we also incorporatenon-commercial and small-scale fisheries sectors. Oftenthese small-scale sectorsare monitored by State (e.g.,Alaska Division ofSubsistence) and Federal(US Fish and WildlifeService) agencies thatgenerally do not have anContinued on page 2 - AlaskaPage 2Sea Around Us – January/February 2008The 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. ISSN 1713-5214   Sea Around Us (ONLINE)The Sea Around Us project newsletter ispublished by the  Fisheries Centre at theUniversity of British Columbia. Included withthe Fisheries Centre’s newsletter FishBytes,sixissues of this newsletter are publishedannually. Subscriptions arefree of charge.Our mailingaddress is: SeaAround Us project,Aquatic EcosystemsResearch Laboratory,2202 Main Mall,Vancouver, BritishColumbia, Canada, V6T1Z4. Our fax number is (604)822-8934, and our email address isSeaNotes@fisheries.ubc.ca. All queries(including reprint requests), subscriptionrequests, and address changes should beaddressed to Robyn Forrest, Sea Around UsNewsletter Editor.The Sea Around Us website may be foundat www.seaaroundus.org and contains up-to-date information on the project.exclusive fisheries mandate suchas NOAA-NMFS. Untilinvestigated in detail, it remainsuncertain if, and which parts of,small-scale, non-commercialfisheries data areincorporated in federally-reported statistics. From pastexperience (Booth and Watts,2007; Zeller and Pauly, 2007;Zeller et al., 2007), we havefound that, in general, catchesfor large-scale commercialfisheries are relatively welldocumented and reported,whereas catches for small-scaleand subsistence fisheries areoften neither reported tonational fisheries agencies norincorporated in nationalaccounts as provided to theglobal community via FAO.Thus, we proposed to assembleavailable information and data,and reconstruct historic fisheriescatches for the arctic area ofAlaska, for the period from 1950to the present, based on theapproach outlined in Booth andWatts (2007) and Zeller et al.(2007). The overall aim was toderive estimates of total removalof fisheries resources for thisperiod. This will serve asbaseline, so far missing, for theanticipated push for expansionof fisheries in the arctic region,driven by climate change.Important in this context is thepresent development of anarctic fisheries managementplan by the Pacific FisheriesManagement Council in Alaska.We hope that our reconstructeddata will provide arepresentative baseline andinput into any such plan.Fisheries in this area fall underthe mandate of the state, as theyoccur within 3 nm of shore.Commercial fisheries arereported annually by theADF&G-Division of CommercialFisheries. Subsistence catchesare reported only intermittentlyfor some communities, withestimated catches being derivedmainly through householdsurveys. Subsistence catches arereported by the ADF&G-Divisionof Subsistence, but the re-construction process also usedreports from other sources,especially for the earlier timeperiods. Having completed apreliminary time series ofestimated fisheries catches, thenext step was to go to Alaskaand present these findings at aregionally important conference,and discuss the findings at aworkshop with local experts.The symposium presentationgained interest from a relativelylarge group of listeners. Moreimportantly,  judging by thequestions being asked after thepresentation, and the peopleapproaching us afterwards, wehad managed to target exactlythe people we needed to speakto. The general impression fromthis input was very supportive,and the mutual feeling was thatwe seem to be getting it right. Afew minor missing pieces in thepuzzle were also pointed out,and were subsequentlyaddressed during the workshopthe following day.The workshop participantsrepresented a diverse group oflocal experts and were identifiedand invited with help from SusanMurray and JonathanWarrenchuk, localrepresentatives of Oceana. Afteran initial introduction on thestate of global fisheries statisticsby Daniel Pauly, Dirk Zellerexpanded on the purposes andexamples of why catchreconstructions are needed.Shawn Booth then walkedparticipants through the detailsAlaska - Continued from page 1Continued on page 3- AlaskaThis willserve asbaseline, sofar missing,for theanticipatedpush forexpansionof fisheriesin the arcticregion,driven byclimatechangePage 3 Sea Around Us – January/February 2008of the Alaskan arctic catchreconstruction, community bycommunity (Figure 1). Duringthe detailed explanations foreach community, feedback fromthe local participants was soughtand given. This feedback waslargely related to subsistencecatches, which have large datagaps due to the intermittency ofstudies in time and space.Two immediate concerns wereraised: one regarding speciesidentification and the otherconcerning communities thatwere not included in the catchre-construction. The first concernarose because most of thereports describing subsistencecatches used non-standardizedcommon names. Thus, eachcommunity had to have an initialclarification of local commonnames, which were thenassigned to a taxon. It wasproposed that local Iñupiaqnames be placed along with thelocal common name and thescientific names for eachspecies. It was also felt that afew communities that werelocated further inland shouldalso be included in estimates foranadromous and marine species.Including these othercommunities’ catches willincrease subsistence catchestimates, but will also be usefulfor the local agencies to have acomplete picture of the fisheriescatches for species that rely, forat least part of their life-history,on marine waters, rather thanfocusing on capture locations(i.e., fresh water vs marine orbrackish water).A side-benefit to discussingspecies compositions for eachcommunity was the opportunityto assess the arrival of somesalmon species to places furthernorth than their historicaldistributions, illustratingecological range expansions dueto climate change.It seems thatchinook salmon,(Oncorhynchustshawytscha),have beenappearing in localwaters aroundBarrow since themid-1990s, butthere is no localIñupiaq name forthem (CraigGeorge, NorthSlope Borough-Division ofWildlifeManagement,pers. comm.).Another point wasraised in relationto commercialfisheries. There arebasically twocommercialfisheries in thearea, one locatedon the North Slope, targetingarctic cisco (Coregonusautumnalis) near the mouth ofthe Colville River, and anotherfishery, largely targeting chumsalmon (Oncorhynchus keta)around Kotzebue Sound. Thesefisheries began in the 1960s -however, Charlie Lean (NortonSound Fisheries Research andDevelopment) pointed out thatdespite the commercial fisheryin Kotzebue Sound beingdeemed by government reportsto have started in 1962, therewere local commercial fisheriestaking place prior to that date.The commercial fishery pre-1962 was an informal one,whereby local people sold theircatch for dog feed to peoplewho ran dog-sled teams, thetransportation link prior to theintroduction of the snow-mobile.Figure 1. State of Alaska, showing the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and southern boundary ofFAO Statistical Area 18 (Arctic). Indicated also are the arctic communities used in this study:1) Wales, 2) Shishmaref, 3) Deering, 4) Kotzebue, 5) Kivalina, 6) Point Hope, 7) Point Lay, 8)Wainwright, 9) Barrow, and 10) Kaktovik.Alaska - Continued from page 2Continued on page 6 - AlaskaThecommercialfishery pre-1962 was aninformal one,whereby localpeople soldtheir catch fordog feed topeople whoran dog-sledteamsPage 4Sea Around Us – January/February 2008Of turtles and people:28th International SeaTurtle Symposiumby Colette WabnitzEvery year the sea turtleresearch communitygathers in more or lessexotic places to share and reporton the latest progress on sea turtleresearch and conservation.Organised by a team of intrepidand visionary folk led by J Nichols(Senior Research Scientist at theOcean Conservancy), this year’sevent sought to depart from theusual format of internationalmeetings. Instead of acosmopolitan city, the symposiumwas held in the community ofLoreto,  Baja California Sur,  Mexico(population: 12,000). The locationwas strategic for two reasons. First,it is on a beach in Baja that Nicholsreleased a satellite-taggedloggerhead turtle12 years ago.Adelita, as it was nicknamed,would swim across the PacificOcean to its birthplace in Japanrepresenting the first time that aturtle had been tracked across anocean basin. Second, theinternational congress was meantto coincide with the annualmeeting, and 10-year anniversary,of an important regionalenvironmental organisation, theGrupo Tortuguero (GT).The GT is a network of individuals,communities, organizations, andinstitutions from around the world,dedicated to sea turtleconservation. By uniting fishers,scientists, conservationists, andother stakeholders, the GT’ssuccess is built on a foundation ofsolid science, coupled importantlywith the trust that researchershave nurtured over the years withthe members of localcommunities.The GT’s efforts led to twonotable achievements in 2007.Through an internationalexchange programme, localfishers from Baja California werebrought together with theircounterparts from Hawai’i andJapan to share information onturtle-friendly fishing methods. Alandmark turtle conservationaccord was also signed betweenthe GT and alocal fishingco-operative.By ratifying it,the co-operativemembersagreed togive uplonglines inexchange forless harmfulgears such astraps andsurface nets.This year’sInternationalSea TurtleSymposiumalso placedemphasis onNativeOceans -seeking torecognisethatindigenouscommunities’efforts toconservetheir naturalenvironmentare a key andintegralcomponentof international initiatives.Indeed, not only are nativepeoples often those livingclosest to the naturalenvironment, they also maintaindeep cultural ties to marinespecies such as sea turtles, and adirect need to coexist with thesespecies. Some of the events atClockwise from top left: 1) A Seri woman and Torres StraitIslander meeting here for the first time and sharingtraditional knowledge and customs; 2) Adan, a local fishermanand member of the new turtle tourism initiative, seen hereweighing a turtle; 3) Local fishers cleaning the nets after anight spent catching turtles in order to tag and release them.The fishermen are part of a local initiative, MagdalenaBaykeeper, which promotes ecological welfare through publicadvocacy, environmental education and clean-up campaigns.Continued on page 5 - ISTS Alandmarkturtleconservationaccord wassignedbetweenthe  GrupoTortugueroand a localfishing co-operativePage 5 Sea Around Us – January/February 2008Mercury in theChesapeake?by Shawn Booth,Howard Townsend1and Villy ChristensenThe Chesapeake Bay is inthe backyard of those wholive on the eastern seaboardof the United States. Its brackishwater touches Maryland andVirginia, while its watershedextends to the states of Delaware,Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania,Virginia and West Virginia. Notunimportantly, it forms thebackyard of Washington, DC,where the powers that be oftenstruggle to demonstrate concernfor the environment.With this background, it is nosurprise that very considerableeffort over the years has beenallocated to cleaning up the Bay,as well as to attempting to restoreit to a more original state. The Bayhas, in modern times, changedfrom having a vast abundance ofoysters,  that may once have keptthe waters clear, to a state whereagricultural run-off impacts waterquality and where anaerobicconditions prevail in the deeperparts.There is also concern aboutpollutants. For this, the U.S. CleanWater Act sets Total MaximumDaily Loads (TMDLs) to determinethe amount of a pollutant that awater body can receive while stillmaintaining water qualitystandards. TMDLs have been orare being developed for eachstate impacting the ChesapeakeBay, and there is special interestregarding mercury, which is acontaminant in coal. Chesapeakestates, particularly Pennsylvania,have most of their electricitygenerated by coal-fired powerplants. With atmospherictransport, mercury is deposited intothe Bay, and transformed intophysiologically-activemethylmercury compounds.Methylmercury can causedeleterious effects in fish (Klaper etal. 2006), and is also a human healthconcern (UNEP 2002), primarilythrough seafood consumption.Therefore, the individual states setconsumption advisories for theamount of seafood that can beconsumed where methylmercuryloads are of concern. For example,the Maryland Department of theEnvironment recommends that thegeneral public should avoid eatingmore than two standard servings ofsmaller striped bass (Moronesaxatilis) per month. Larger onesshould be consumed much morerarely.With this background and withTMDLs being developed formercury, the Chesapeake BayProgram’s Scientific and TechnicalAdvisory Committee arranged aworkshop to develop integratedmodelling and monitoringprograms for mercury in theChesapeake Bay from Oct 2-4, 2007– a workshop in which weparticipated. The workshop focusedon three main topics: emissioninventories, atmospheric modelling,and ecosystem modelling, with ourcontribution focusing on the latter.We have been working for severalyears on a detailed ecosystemmodel of the Chesapeake Bay usingthe symposium that honouredindigenous initiatives includedtraditional Seri turtle songs anddances. The Seri, an indigenousgroup from the state of Sonora,Mexico, consider theleatherback turtle sacred andhave strong emotional,  spiritualand cultural ties to the animal.One of the most moving,powerful, and humbling eventsof the meeting was aroundtable and exchange ofgifts between nativecommunity members fromcountries including Mexico,Panama, Australia (Torres Strait),Nicaragua and Palau.In keeping with the commonentreaty to “think globally, actlocally”,  the symposium alsosaw the Ocean Conservancyofficially launch the SEE TurtlesProject (www.seeturtles.org).This initiative, currently in itspilot phase and with one of itssites in Baja California Sur,  aimsto promote turtle conservationthrough small-scale ecotourism.By working with tour operatorsthat have strong environmentalrecords, the project primarilyseeks to help build non-consumptive alternatives toillegal fishing.Another remarkable aspect ofthis meeting was the effort tokeep the event’s environmentalfootprint as small as possible:local transport was providedchiefly by our own feet,recycling bins were placed instrategic locations, and eatingchoices were sustainable andlocal. LIVBLUE Awards weregiven to those attendees whohad travelled the greatestdistance but with the lowestcarbon footprint, showcasingsome interesting and oftenrather entertaining methodsof footprint reduction!1. NOAA Chesapeake Bay ProgramOffice/Collaborative OxfordLaboratoryISTS - Continued from page 4Continued on page 6 - MercuryMethylmercury cancausedeleteriouseffects infish and isalso ahumanhealthconcern,primarilythroughseafoodconsumptionPage 6Sea Around Us – January/February 2008Ecopath with Ecosim (EwE) in aco-operative effort fundedthrough the NOAA ChesapeakeBay Office’s Fisheries ScienceProgram. As part of this we haveconstructed an EwE model thatdescribes the ecosystem, andhow its resources have beenused and developed since 1950.We used this model with theEcotracer module of EwE to trackhow methylmercury movesthrough the foodweb. We fittedthe model to available data onmethylmercury loading forvarious fish species in theChesapeake, based on loadingvalues derived from sedimentcores which reflected trends inmercury input from 1955 to2005.  We found that the model,although preliminary, was quitecapable of tracking themethylmercury concentrationsthat have been observed for fishin the Bay.An interesting observation wasthat we could see the impact of amoratorium of fishing for stripedbass in the Bay.  Because of stockdepletion, Maryland andDelaware stopped all fishing from1984-1990, and Virginia imposeda one-year moratorium in 1989.The ecosystem model showshow the striped bass populationwas severely depleted up to themid-1980s and has sincerecovered to what may behistoric levels. The estimatedmethylmercury trends closelyfollow the population trends:when the stock was depleted inthe mid-1980s themethylmercury loads were at anall-time low, and have reboundedsince the population recovered.The explanation is simple: lowpopulation size is associated withhigh mortality rates, and thisequates to young individuals withlow methylmercury loading.When fishing pressure wasrestricted with the moratorium,we saw the population growolder and hence have longer toaccumulate the toxin, with thebottom line being that mercuryloading increaseddisproportionately with age. Forsome, this is an unforeseenconsequence of a moratoriumimpacting mortality of fishpopulations. It is also aninteresting observation that mayhelp explain increasedsusceptibility to mycobacteriosis,a bacterial disease that hasaffected striped bass in the bayin recent years. Overall, wefound that the two mainpredictors of methylmercuryconcentrations in the 45functional groups in the modelwere trophic level and longevity.The workshop also highlightedthe utility of data ‘handshakes’,where the output of theatmospheric models (whichinclude point and non-pointsources of mercury emissions)can be used as spatial inputswithin the spatial-dynamic EwEmodule, Ecospace. This is an areawe are now exploring further.ReferencesChristensen, V, Beattie, A,Buchanan, C, Martell, SJD,Latour, RJ, Preikshot, D, Sigrist, M,Uphoff, JH, Walters, CJ, Wood, RJ,and Townsend, H.  Fisheriesecosystem model of theChesapeake Bay: Methodology,parameterization and modelexploration (MS., in review).Klaper, R, Rees, CB, Drevnick, P,Weber, D, Sandheinrich, M, andCarvan MJ. 2006. Geneexpression changes related toendocrine function and declinein reproduction in Fatheadminnow (Pimephales promelas)after dietary methylmercuryexposure. EnvironmentalHealth Perspectives 114(9):1337-1343.United Nations EnvironmentProgramme. 2002. Globalmercury assessment.UNEP Chemicals. Geneva,Switzerland. 270 pp.The feedback gained throughthe symposium presentation andworkshop activity will form partof the final report for fisheriescatches in the Alaskan arctic.This work will extend thereconstruction to include morecommunities and also report thetotal catch of fish for both thecommercial fisheries, which willbe extended back in time, andfor the subsistence fisheries,which will include the totalcatch of marine and anadromousspecies regardless of capturelocations. This was deemedimportant by the localparticipants in light of potentiallost opportunity costs for anydevelopment that might hamperthe ability of the communities toparticipate in subsistence fishing.Having successfully navigatedarctic marine fisheries ‘waters’through this workshop, weretired to a nice dinner afterbravely venturing (temperatureinfluenced) less than two blocksoutside the workshop venue.ReferencesBooth, S. and P. Watts. 2007.Canada’s arctic marine fishcatches. pp. 3-16 in Zeller, D. andD. Pauly, editors. Reconstructionof marine fisheries catches forkey countries and regions(1950-2005). Fisheries CentreResearch Reports 15(2).University of British Columbia,Vancouver.Zeller, D. and D. Pauly, editors. 2007.Reconstruction of marinefisheries catches for keycountries and regions (1950-2005). Fisheries Centre ResearchReports 15(2), University ofBritish Columbia, Vancouver,163 p.Zeller, D., S. Booth, G. Davis and D.Pauly. 2007. Re-estimation ofsmall-scale fisheries catches forU.S. flag island areasin the WesternPacific: The last 50years. FisheriesBulletin 105: 266-277.Alaska - Continued from page 3Mercury - Continued from page 5Theworkshopalsohighlightedthe utility ofdata‘handshakes’,where theoutput oftheatmosphericmodels [...]can be usedas inputswithinEcospace


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