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Sea Around Us project newsletter, issue 51, January/February 2009 Bailey, Megan; Sea Around Us Project Jan 31, 2009

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Sea Around UsThe Sea Around Us Project NewsletterIssue 51 – January/February 2009Continued on page 2 - ClimateSea Around Us Project’sclimate change project atthe 2009 AAAS annualmeeting in Chicagoby William CheungOn 12 and 13February, Iparticipated as asymposium speaker at theAmerican Association forthe Advancement ofScience (AAAS) annualmeeting in Chicago. Ipresented the findingsfrom our study on theimpact of climate changeon marine biodiversityand fisheries. Thesefindings are some of themajor products from mytwo years of exciting andrewarding post-doctoralexperience with the SeaAround Us Project  (seeThe Sea Around UsProject Newsletter Nov/Dec 2008 issue for detailsabout this work). In asense, it also marked asuccessful completion ofthe first phase of thisproject.The symposium titled“Facing Our UncertainFuture: The Reality ofClimate ChangeAdaptation in the Ocean”was organized by EmilyPidgeon of ConservationInternational and LesKaufman of BostonUniversity as part of theoverall theme of theAAAS annual meeting“Our Planet and its Life –Origins and Futures”.  Thesymposium aimed todiscuss the latest sciencein studying current andfuture impacts of climatechange on marineecosystems and thedevelopment ofadaptation policy toclimate change in marineenvironments. Mycontribution tothe symposiumwas thoughpresentingclimate changestudies thathighlight majordevelopmentsin our ability toproject climatechange impactson speciesdistributions,marinebiodiversity andfisheries catch.This isobviously animportant steptowards developingadaptation policy to climatechange impacts in the ocean.Emily Pidgeon ofConservation Internationalopened up the session byhighlighting the overallmessages of the session: theeffects of climate change onmajor groups of marineorganisms have beenobserved and tools areavailable and continuouslybeing improved to makeprojections of these impacts;Former Sea Around Us Project member WilliamCheung is interviewed.        Photo by Liz Neely, Compass.Page 2Sea Around Us – January/February 2009The 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 Charitable Trusts supportnonprofit activities in the areas of culture, education, theenvironment, health and human services, public policy andreligion. Based in Philadelphia, the Trusts make strategicinvestments to help organizations and citizens develop practicalsolutions to difficult problems. In 2000, with approximately$4.8 billion in assets, the Group committed over $235 millionto 302 nonprofit organizations. ISSN 1713-5214   Sea Around Us (ONLINE)... combinedchanges inprimaryproductionand speciesdistributionmay causelargereduction incatchpotential inthe tropicsClimate - Continued from page 1thus we should startincorporating this knowledgeand information into thedesign of marine conservationpolicies that are adaptable toclimate changes.Dee Boersma, Professor at theUniversity of Washington,presented some stunningresults on the impacts ofclimate change on theMagellanic penguin inArgentina. In her talk titled“Mare Nova: Climate Change –An Adaptive Challenge toOcean Ecosystems”, sheshowed that penguins areswimming 60 km farther northfrom their nests duringincubation now than they did adecade ago. Some penguinseven shifted their colonieswhich caused them to movefrom protected to private land.Such changes are likely a resultof shifts in prey distributionsbecause of climate change andfishing. This affects theeffectiveness of existingmarine protected areas inprotecting these penguins.My presentation showed thatmarine fishes and shellfisheswould face similar problems asthe penguins. I presented theprojected global shift inspecies distributions and thelarge-scale redistribution offisheries catch potential.Specifically, based onmodelling the distributions of1,066 species of fishes andshellfishes, we predicted thattheir distributions would shifttowards the Poles at a medianrate of about 40 km decade-1.As a result, a high rate ofspecies invasion may occur inthe high latitude region whilelocal extinction mayconcentrate along the tropics.Species with limited range orat habitat margins (e.g. polarspecies) may face a high risk ofextinction under climatechange because of thereduction in available habitats.Also, the combined changes inprimary production and speciesdistribution may cause largereduction in catch potential inthe tropics, although highlatitude countries such asNorway may gain in catchpotential. Results like thesehighlight the need toincorporate these potentialchanges when designingfisheries management andconservation policies.Patrick Halpin, Professor atDuke University, thenpresented the findings from hislatest research which showedthat there is a mis-matchbetween ocean areas with highprojected climate variability (aproxy of climate changeimpact) and the existingcoverage of marine protectedareas. His works suggested theneed to consider climatechange in designing networksof marine protected areas.A highlight of our symposiumwas a press conference on theday before the scientificsession. In particular, this pressconference coincided with thepublication of the paper in Fishand Fisheries that reported ourstudy on climate changeimpacts on marine biodiversity(Cheung et al. 2009). Overall,our paper, and the session ingeneral, attracted considerablemedia coverage.My participation in this year’sAAAS annual meetinghighlighted my experienceworking with the Sea AroundUs Project over the past years. Ienjoyed very much workingContinued on page 4 - ClimatePage 3 Sea Around Us – January/February 2009Continued on page 4 - Oil... Tuna Reps:Governmentfuel subsidywould bevery muchwelcomeduring thesedifficulttimes.Impacts of the oil crisis oncommercial fisheries in the SouthernPhilippinesby Stuart GreenIn the Philippines, the use ofboats exceeding 3 tonnesdefines ` commercial’, asopposed to ` municipal’fisheries. Municipal fisheriesemploy over 1.3 million smallscale fishers, about 5 timesmore than the commericalsector, but generate roughlysimilar catches. A decade ago,the aggregate Philippinecommercial fishing capacitywas 2.09 million horse power(HP), 45% above the optimumlevel of 1.14 Million HP.The Philippine commercial fleetis highly subsidized by thegovernment. Some of thisconsists of infrastructuredevelopment and tax windowson imported boats andequipment. Also, commercialfishing boat registration fees thataccount for about 1/1000th ofthe value of fish caught bycommercial fishers in 2000(Green et al., 2003) are notreflective of true resource rentsfor the country’s fisheries. Still,the Philippine fisheries sufferedfrom the 2008 oil priceincrease. Table 1 belowhighlights some of thereactions within thecommercial fishing industry.Table 1: Chronology of events related to fuel price increase in the Philippine commercial fishery,July – September 2008Date (2008)JulyLast week ofJulyEarly AugustMid AugustSeptember 4thSeptember 5thonwardsEventMembers of largest commercial fishinggroup in western Mindanao (whichaccounts for 90% of the supply ofsardines in the region) stop operating.Staff of the Bureau of Fisheries andAquatic Resources argue with industryrepresentatives to reinitiate fishing.Industry gives its recommendations onwhat is needed for it to go back tofishing.Tuna fishing industry representativesstated a Government fuel subsidywould be very much welcome duringthese difficult times..Increase in sardine price agreed uponbetween catchers and canneries.10th National Philippine Tuna Congressin General Santos City, Mindanao.Oil prices have decreased andoperations are currently back to normalAdditional informationDispute with canning firms over higher fishprices that commercial fishers are demandingdue to increasing fuel prices, with canneriesunwilling to pay.Industry representatives have 3 demands: (1)Exemption from 12% value added tax on fuel; (2)Discount on diesel bought from Governmentowned company; (3) Agreement betweencanneries and fishing firms on linking fish anddiesel price.Tuna fishers:  “it is not only the sardine industrythat is reeling from the skyrocketing prices offuel products. The tuna industry is also feeling itseffect”.Further adjustments planned to compensate forrising prices of inputs.To help the tuna industry through difficult times,the government is considering a plea by fishingoperators to directly import cheaper fuel fromMalaysia.The Government agrees to pay the Philippinetuna industry’s membership in the Western andCentral Pacific Fisheries Commission (US$130,000).Page 4Sea Around Us – January/February 2009Publications Mail Agreement No: 41104508... a return tosailing oreven row-boats bysmall scalefishers hasbeen seen oflate.Oil - Continued from page 3The commercial fishers havetried to save fuel costs byfishing closer to shore in thosegrounds which are reserved forsmall scale fishing. In response,the fuel costs for fisheriesenforcement vessels, i.e., tokeep commercial fisheries outof the inshore ‘municipal’fishing grounds, haveincreased significantly for smallscale fishers and the municipalgovernments.On the other hand, in someparts of the country, small scalefishers appear to bebenefitting from the increasedfuel prices, if indirectly: as theiroperating costs have increased,some commercial fishers havetemporarily docked their boats,or fished less frequently, givingboth fish stocks and smallscale fishers a temporaryreprieve. Also, a return tosailing or even row-boats bysmall scale fishers has beenseen of lateAlthough the worst of the oilprice increase is temporarilyover, it did bring into focussome fundamental problemsin Philippine fisheries. Thestrong lobbying position of thecommercial fishers and thesubsidies that the industrygorges on, have led to hugeovercapacity and haveaccelerated stock declines.Fortunately, the Governmentdid not heed the call for morefuel subsidies. Subsidies forcommercial fishers todecommission theirboats and leave thefishery may be morehelpful, as may fuelsubsidies for the lawenforcement patrolsneeded to keepcommercial fishers outof small scale fishinggrounds and managethe no-take areas of thecountry.The world’s financialcrisis and the respite itoffers (via reduced fuelprices) is an opportunityto find a solution to thestructural problems ofPhilippine fisheries.Notably, subsidies tocommercial fisheries mustcease, emphasis being insteadgiven to law enforcement andto strengthening andexpanding the existingnetwork of marine protectedareas. Otherwise, noodles willbe all that people will have toeat, and sardines will beunavailable.ReferencesGreen, S.J., White, A.T. , Flores,J.O., Carreon III, M.F. and Sia, A.E.2003. “Philippine Fisheries inCrisis:  A Framework forManagement”.  CoastalResource Management Projectof the Department ofEnvironment and NaturalResources, Cebu City,Philippines. 77p.Tuna fishing boats docked at port in the city of Davao, Philippines. Photo by Megan Bailey.with every colleague at the SeaAround Us Project. Particularly,working with Prof. Daniel Paulyand learning from his teachingwidened my horizons andaccelerated my growth, bothacademically and personally. Inmy new position at the UniversityCheung, W. W. L., Close, C., Kearney,K., Lam, V., Sarmiento, J., Watson, R.,and Pauly, D. 2009. Projectingglobal marine biodiversity impactsunder climate change scenarios.Fish and Fisheries. DOI:10. 1111/j. 14 67-2979.2008.00315.xof East Anglia, I will continue tocollaborate with the Sea AroundUs Project on climate changestudies as well as other projects.So, you may see me again in theSea Around Us Projectnewsletter in the future.ReferencesClimate - Continued from page 2Page 5 Sea Around Us – January/February 2009Since 2002, the FisheriesEconomics Research Unit(FERU) has been busyinvestigating the economicincentives that lead tooverfishing.  While there aremany economic factors at play,one issue that has been centralto FERU and, in part, the SeaAround Us Project, is the impactof government subsidies on thefisheries sector.  Subsidies areimportant to the study of marinecapture fisheries because theycan directly affect and alter theeconomic incentives faced byfishers, and therefore, the levelof fishing they might take.The aim of fisheries subsidies is,in the most general sense, toimprove the livelihoods offishers.  Governments attmept todo this by increasing the totalrevenue that fishers receive,reducing their fishing costs, orboth.  Unfortunately, theseprograms, which are oftendesigned to help fishers throughtough times can create anincentive to overfish – likely thereason why incomes are low forfishers to begin with – andexacerbate the financialproblems faced by fishers.  Quitesimply, when a governmentchooses to reduce fishing coststhrough subsidies, total catchwill be even higher than withoutgovernment intervention.Many recognize that fisheriessubsidies are not only harmfulfor biological stocks but can alsohinder international trade.  Thisplaces subsidies to the fishingsector within the World TradeOrganization’s (WTO) guidelineson actionable subsidies – thosethat have adverse effects on aRe-visiting international fisheriessubsidiesnation’s trading partners.  For thisreason, the Sea Around UsProject and FERU’s work onsubsidies has drawn a great dealof attention from theinternational community, withthe result that our researchoutputs (e.g., Khan et al., 2006)have been used by parties at theongoing Doha Round talks.Within the realm of internationalsubsidies, the fishing industrycan be overshadowed by otherindustries, like agriculture, thatare thought to have very highlevels of subsidies.  However,year 2000 estimates of Khan etal. (2006) and Sumaila et al.(2008) suggest that fisheriessubsidies total between $US 30and 34 billion per year.  Not onlyis this a staggeringly largenumber in absolute terms, butthe problem is even moreapparent when we consider thatthis represents roughly fortypercent of the total landed valueof ocean-caught fish.  In simpleterms, 40% of each fish caughtis, on average, subsidies.Visitors to the FERU section ofthe Sea Around Us Projectwebsite, www.seaaroundus.org/,will find that subsidies havebeen re-estimated for the year2000 using the most recentcatch allocation from the SeaAround Us Project reflected inthe column reporting subsidiesproportionate to the landedvalue of catch.  Furthermore, thesubsidy re-estimation hasallowed us to disaggregatesubsidy data that was previouslyestimated for a geo-politicalentity such as France, among itsdependencies like Crozet Island,Guadeloupe, or St. Pierre etMiquelon. This disaggregation issimply based on an entity’s catchrelative to total catch for thelarger geo-political entity.  So, inthe above-mentioned cases,Crozet Island is assigned a shareof France’s previous subsidyestimate based on itscontribution to France’s totallanded value.In pursuit of increasing ourknowledge of fisheries subsidies,we are currently expanding thedatabase of government financialtransfers to include spendingfrom the year 1989 to thepresent.  This will result in a newre-estimation of the data for theyear 2000 using the upcomingcatch allocation as well as anestimate for the year 2003, whichis the base year for the GlobalOcean Economics Project*.  Tocompile subsidy data for the year2003 and, with continued work,for additional years, we haverelied on information fromvarious sources including a world-wide campaign directed atcollecting data from fisheriesministers, WTO negotiators, andother governmental figures.Publishing data on the extent ofgovernment subsidies to thefishing sector is just one steptoward building a climate wherefisheries management can bediscussed with transparency.Given the extent of governmentspending in the fishing sectormentioned above, we feel thatbuilding the subsidies database isa very important part ofadvancing the discussion onfisheries management at theglobal level, now and in thefuture.By Andrew J. DyckContinued on page 6 - Subsidy...  buildingthe subsidiesdatabase is averyimportantpart ofadvancingthe discussionon fisheriesmanagement.Page 6Sea Around Us – January/February 2009Billfish conflicts in recreational andcommercial fisheries in Mexicoby Andrés M. Cisneros-Montemayor and Gakushi IshimuraFishing is one of the maineconomic activities in BajaCalifornia Sur (BCS), Mexico.The Gulf of California has alwaysbeen a very important area forfisheries, and the tropical climateand short travel distance makethe Gulf of California a populardestination for vacations byAmericans and Canadians.Recreational fishing, mainlytargeting billfish, has grown alongwith tourism in the region andhas developed into a largeindustry with a significant role inthe local economy and relativelystable catches since the mid-1980s (DOF, 2004). Mostrecreational fishing effort takesplace on the eastern coast of BCS,mainly in the Los Cabos regionand in Buenavista.Billfish are regarded as prize fishby sport fishermen, withinternational tournaments heldevery year, marlin and sailfishbeing the most targeted species.Billfish captures total to around23,000 fish a year (DOF, 2004).Billfish are exclusively reservedfor recreational fishermen, butdue to by-catch in commercialfisheries, these two sectors in BCShave been in conflict over billfishresources. Revenues fromrecreational fishing licenses alonein BCS increased to 1.5 millionUSD in 2006 and the governmentof Mexico estimated the totalvalue of recreational fishing directexpenditures in BCS at around 8million USD in 2007. A separatestudy initiated by the BillfishFoundation used input-outputanalysis to estimate the effects ofrecreational fisheries on the localeconomy, suggesting a total of1.12 billion USD in total economicactivity was generated by therecreational fishing industry(Southwick Associates, 2008).A critical issue of the Mexicanrecreational billfish fishery is theongoing conflict withcommercial shark fisheries overbillfish resources. Recently, theseconflicts have been brought to ahead by the approval of a newfisheries law, NOM-029 (2007),in which objectives are set toimprove the management ofcommercial shark fisheries inMexico. The law’s main pointsare to limit the type and use ofshark-fishing gear and toregulate by-catch of marinemammals, birds and sea turtles.The government’s rationale isthat, while not perfect, the lawwill do much for themanagement of shark fisheriesand it can be improved overtime to protect other fishspecies.The recreational billfishfisheries sector has very stronglyopposed the law (seewww.billfish.org/new/newsarticle. asp?ArticleID=66), statingthat, by neglecting the explicitby-catch limit on billfishresources, by default this law willallow shark-fishing vessels tocapture billfish ‘incidentally’, thensell them on the market.After much political debate, a30% billfish by-catch limit wasset for the commercial sharkfishery, with varying region-specific by-catch rates fordifferent billfish species.  This by-catch limit is based on data fromon-board observers, but it isunclear how the limit will beenforced, or what theconsequences of  exceeded by-catch limits would include. It isundeniable that a collapse ofbillfish resources would result ina negative impact on the entiretourism industry, which is key forthe BCS economy. However, if ouraim is to improve the state offisheries and ecosystems,management policy should beshaped around sound scientificadvice and not around the mostinfluential stakeholder.ReferencesDOF (Federal Gazette). 2004.Acuerdo por el que seaprueba la actualizacion de laCarta Nacional Pesquera y suanexo. Poder Ejecutivo—Secretaria de MedioAmbiente, RecursosNaturales y Pesca, DiarioOficial de la Federacion,Mexico, March 15.Southwick Associates, Inc., NelsonConsulting, Inc. and FirmusConsulting. 2008. Theeconomic contributions ofanglers to the Los Caboseconomy. The BillfishFoundation.*http://feru.org/projects/current/goep/ReferencesKhan, A.S., Sumaila, U.R., Watson,R., Munro, G., Pauly, D. 2006.The nature and magnitude ofglobal non-fuel fisheriessubsidies. In Sumaila, U.R.,Pauly, D. (eds.), Catching morebait: a bottom-up re-estimation of global fisheriessubsidies. Fisheries CentreResearch Reports 14(6), pp. 5-37. Fisheries Centre, theUniversity of British Columbia,Vancouver, Canada.Sumaila, U. R., Teh, L., Watson, R.,Tyedmers, P., and Pauly, D.2008. Fuel price increase,subsidies, overcapacity, andresource sustainability. ICESJournal of MarineScience, 65: 832–840.Subsidy - Continued from page 5...  It isundeniablethat acollapse ofbillfishresourceswould resultin a negativeimpact onthe entiretourismindustry.


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