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Sea Around Us project newsletter, issue 36, July/August 2006 Forrest, Robyn; Sea Around Us Project Jul 31, 2006

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SSSS Seeee e aaaa a     AAAA Arrrr r ouououou ounnnn ndddd d     UUUU Ussss sThe Sea Around Us Project NewsletterIssue 36 – July/August 2006Briefing on the Hill onrebuilding overfishedstocks in the U.S.A.by Ussif Rashid SumailaThe U.S. Congress iscurrently working onthe re-authorization ofthe Magnuson-Stevens Act.The most controversialaspect of the re-authorization relates toprovisions regarding therestoration of stocksdeclared overfished by theU.S. government. There is,therefore, an ongoingdebate in Washington, D.C.on this issue. AndrewRosenberg (University ofNew Hampshire) and I gotinvolved in this debatewhen we were invited bythe Lenfest Ocean Programto give a Congressional(Hill) Briefing in WashingtonD.C. on June 15 this year,based on our recent workson the issue of rebuildingoverfished U.S. fish stocks.Rosenberg discussed his newstudy entitled, Rebuilding U.S.Fisheries: Progress andProblems, which documentssuccesses and failures infisheries rebuilding programssince the Magnuson-StevensAct amendments werepassed in 1996, andrecommends ways toimprove the success of theprogram. I presented my jointwork with Lisa Suatoni, FishEconomics: The Benefits ofRebuilding U.S. Ocean FishPopulations, which puts adollar figure on the U.S.government’s currentapproach to rebuilding fishstocks and compares this tothe economic impact of otherapproaches.The goal of the briefing wasto provide information aboutissues contained in HR 5018(The American FisheriesManagement and Marine LifeEnhancement Act) sponsoredby Richard Pombo (R-CA), tore-authorize the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservationand Management Act of1976. It is expected to be putbefore the full House ofRepresentatives for a vote,hopefully before theNovember congressionalelections.Both Rosenberg and I weredelighted to see a very goodturnout. There were a rangeof Hill staff present, mainlyfrom the House side (as usualthere were no Members inthe audience). Also presentwere representatives fromNOAA, EPA, USAID, WorldBank, NGOs, etc. The audiencewas very engaged, posing lotsof good questions –underscoring how critical thisissue is right now, with debateexpected in the Houseshortly.The key messages from theContinued on page 2 - CongressRashid Sumaila and Andy Rosenberg taking questions at theCongressional Briefing in Washington D.C., June 15, 2006.Page 2Sea Around Us – July/August 2006The Sea Around Us project newsletter ispublished by the  Fisheries Centre at theUniversity of BritishColumbia. 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, Aquatic Ecosystems Research Laboratory,2202 Main Mall, Vancouver, British Colum-bia, 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. ISSN 1713-5214   Sea Around Us (ONLINE)Darwin’s Nightmare:to the Tanzaniangovernmentthe nightmare isthe film, not theNile perchby Jennifer JacquetIn 2005, Lake Victoria’s Nileperch fishery received highprofile exposure with therelease of the film, Darwin’sNightmare.  Internationalaudiences praised the film butthe Tanzanian government wasnot pleased.Darwin’s Nightmare, directed byHubert Sauper, uses the Nileperch industry as a vehicle toexplore social issues in theMwanza district, the centre ofthe Lake Victoria fishery—rich infish and yet one of the poorestregions of the country.  Theresult, which has nothing to dowith Darwin or evolutionarybiology, includes painful scenesof street urchins, prostitutes andAIDS victims. Hygienic fish-processing plants that exportNile perch to the EU arejuxtaposed with macabreimages of the processors’leftover carcasses hung to dryfor local consumption.  Theclimactic moment of the filmoccurs when the viewer finallydiscovers that the cargo planesthat fly Nile perch out of thecountry come to Tanzania full ofweapons to equip guerillaoperations in neighbouringcountries.The film was highly acclaimed—nominated for an AcademyAward and lauded by the critics[e.g., 1].  Some of the responses,perhaps imitating the film, wereincendiary.  A critic from TheNew York Post wrote, “Africastarves because corruptgovernments own the naturalresources and export them tobuy weapons to keep theirpeople at bay.”  Correspondentsin an online chat roomdiscussing the film [2] advocatedCongress - Continued from page 1Continued on page 3 - Darwin... rebuildingstocksquickly willnot onlybenefit thefish, it willbenefitfishinginterests aswell ...two presentations include: (i)after 10 years, only 3 stocks havebeen rebuilt, and 82% ofoverfished stocks still needrecovery; (ii) over half of thestocks undergoing rebuilding arestill experiencing overfishing; (iii)if overfishing is eliminated,stocks can recover (in 37% ofstocks, this is happening); (iv)rebuilding stocks quickly will notonly benefit the fish, it willbenefit fishing interests as well,at least in the medium and longterm, because economicbenefits to  the commercial andrecreational sectors could triplefrom current levels; (v) morejobs will be generated both fromthe fishing sector anddownstream sectors withrebuilding; and (vi) more fishprotein will become available toAmericans from domestic U.S.waters should overfishedstocks be rebuilt.Page 3 Sea Around Us – July/August 2006a boycott of Nile perch.  This yearthe EU, which normally sendsinspectors to examine the Nileperch processing plants for threedays, announced it would sendits team for eleven days.The Tanzanian government,perhaps unsurprisingly, hasreacted strongly against the film(a reaction quite different to thatof the U.S. government afterMichael Moore’s Fahrenheit9/11).  In the year following itsrelease, the Tanzaniangovernment has becomeDarwin’s Nightmare’s mostvociferous adversary.First, the government arrestedpeople associated with the film(e.g., Tanzanian journalist RichardMgamba).  In August 2006, theTanzanian government accusedSauper of hurting the country’simage and decreasing sales ofNile perch in an official letterContinued on page 4 -Darwinprinted in the nationalnewspaper [3]. There isnow a sponsored Internetlink in opposition to thefilm, which includes thenegative reactions to thefilm by the Tanzanianembassy in France andthe Tanzania office of theIUCN.   The websiteincludes faked photos ofSauper arm in arm withOsama Bin Laden andSaddam Hussein, andnotes, “lots of [Sauper’s]scenes have been doneat nights, which provesthat he is a cheater andliar” [4].In their open letter, thegovernment concededthat the conditions inwhich some of the film’scharacters live are “appalling andunacceptable” but argued thatSauper “maliciously closes theeyes of viewers to the manybenefits that the Lake Victoriafishery has brought to hundredsof thousands of people.”  Thegovernment noted the positiveaspects of Nile perch, such asthe industry’s “big multipliereffect, which puts the totalemployment at about twomillion people derivinglivelihoods in extendedactivities ...”This sentiment was theone voiced repeatedlyas I visited fisheriesoffices, NGOs, anduniversities on myAugust 2006 trip toTanzania.  Everyone hadan opinion on Darwin’sNightmare (oneprofessor even gave a20 minute speechdescribing the film’sinaccuracies, only tofinally admit he had notactually seen it).  Agovernment officialpointed out that, whileWestern culture maynot readily perceive thebenefits of Nile perchto the localMaterial for Darwin’sNightmare II?Since independence, the Tanzanian government has restrictedfinfish exports to promote food security.  In 2005, the governmentopened the export sector for marine finfish belonging to 10 groupsof fish listed below [10]. Anderson and Ngutunga [11] have alreadyexpressed concern.  Sharks and rays show a low resilience to fishingpressure and many Tanzanian species are classified on the IUCN Red List.The minimum weight limit of 2kg is also not adequate for many speciesincluded in the groups of parrotfishes, snappers, and groupers.But, with permission to export, the small-scale sector has alreadydrastically expanded.  In 2005, 14 new landing sites emerged along thecoast of Tanzania.  The number of coastal fishers in 2005 increased by10,500 from the census four years earlier, while 2200 vessels wereadded to the coastal fishery over the same time period [12].1.  Tunas and kingfishes2. Carangids (jacks)3. Parrotfish and bluefish4. Red snapper5. Groupers and rock cod6. Sharks7. Rays and skates8. Soles9. Marlins10. CatfishDarwin - Continued from page 2Marine finfish in preparation for export from MafiaIsland, Tanzania.Photo by J. JacquetIn the yearfollowingits release,theTanzaniangovernmenthasbecomeDarwin’sNightmare’smostvociferousadversaryPage 4Sea Around Us – July/August 2006Publications Mail Agreement No: 41104508Darwin - Continued from page 3A dhow sets sail on the afternoon wind.Photo by J. Jacquetcommunities, there is evidenceof improvements.  For instance,some Mwanza residents nowhave metal corrugated roofinginstead of thatched roofs.  Aprofessor explained thatresidents in the fish basinactually prefer the fish heads tothe fillets.The attention in Tanzania wascuriously centred on the Nileperch industry and insistencethat it benefits localcommunities.  The governmentletter, for instance, dedicatedonly one unconcernedparagraph to the weaponsimports.  In the film’s pressrelease, Sauper said,  “I couldmake the same kind of movie inSierra Leone, only the fish wouldbe diamonds, in Honduras,bananas, and in Libya, Nigeria, orAngola, crude oil.” Though thedirector intended the issue ofthe arms trade or effects ofglobalization to takeprecedence, somehow, inTanzania at least, Nile perchconsumed the limelight (inaddition to haplochromines).But the information in Darwin’sNightmare is hardly new.  Thefilm largely reiterated pointsabout the Nile perch fisherydocumented in the scientificliterature in the last 15 years.The ecological catastrophe waswell-known (and published inreputable journals [e.g., 5, 6]), aswas its social consequences.Researchers described theprioritization of foreignexchange (through Nile perchexports) over food security andthe subsequent proteinmalnutrition in the lake basincommunities [7, 8].  Theydiscussed the migration offishermen that contributed tothe rise of the AIDS epidemic[9].  Yet, the film causedcontroversy wherethe academicliterature and even arelated book(Darwin’sDreampond) had not.The Tanzaniangovernment had anopportunity to useDarwin’s Nightmareto catalyze change.They had anopportunity to usethe film to highlightinequity brought onby globalization, toemphasize again theneed to reform tradeand eliminatesubsidies as well as torequest aid from theWestern world.Instead, they harassedparticipants in the film andvilified the director.  Darwin’sNightmare has become theirown.References1. “Movie Review: Darwin’sNightmare” by A.O. Scott,printed August 3, 2005 in TheNew York Times.2. www.bbc.co.uk/bbcfour/yoursay/darwins-nightmare.shtml3. “The Govt’s open letter to themaker of Darwin’s Nightmare”printed August 22, 2006 inThe Citizen, page 9.4. www.darwinsnightmare.net5. Witte, F., T. Goldschmidt, J.Wanink, M. van Oijen, et al.1991. The destruction of anendemic species flock:quantitative data on thedecline of the haplochrominecichlids of Lake Victoria.Environmental Biology ofFishes, 34(1): 1-28.6. Avise, J. C. Flocks of Africanfishes, Nature, 347:512-513.7. Baskin, Y. 1992. Africa’stroubled waters. BioScience,42(7): 476-481.8. Kaufman, L. 1992. Catastrophicchanges in species-richfreshwater ecosystems.BioScience, 42(11): 846-858.9. Appleton, J. 2000. At my age Ishould be sitting under thattree: the impact of AIDS onTanzanian lakeshorecommunities. Gender andDevelopment, 8(2): 19-27.10. Mgawe, Y. I. 2005. Challengesof promoting export of fishfrom aritsanal marine fisheryin Tanzania. A paperpresented at FAO meeting onFish Technology and Trade inAfrica—November, 2005 atBagamoyo.11. Andersen, J. and B. Ngatunga.Desk Review of Marine FishExport Policy in Tanzaniaprepared for WWF/TPO.12. Fisheries Division. 2005.Marine Frame Survey (2005)Results and Comparison withPast Surveys.Note: The Fisheries Centrehosted a screening of Darwin’sNightmare. Tuesday,September 19th, 4.00pm.TheTanzaniangovernmenthad anopportunityto useDarwin’sNightmareto catalyzechange

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