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Sea Around Us project newsletter, issue 60, July/August 2010 Bailey, Megan; Sea Around Us Project Jul 31, 2010

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Sea Around UsThe Sea Around Us Project NewsletterIssue 60 – July/August 2010Mi Querida Argentina(My Beloved Argentina)by Lucas BrotzThe Third International Jellyfish BloomsSymposium, organized by Dr. HermesMianzan and his colleagues, was heldin Mar del Plata, Argentina from July 14-16,2010.  I was extremely fortunate to attend,as travel to South America can be bothexpensive and protracted.  Although I metwith numerous flight delays and lostluggage, my experience in Argentina wasnot to be dissuaded, thanks primarily to thegracious and affable hosts.Previous International Jellyfish BloomsSymposia were held in Alabama (2000) andAustralia (2007).  As jellyfish have beenraising their prominence in both scientificand popular media of late, there was muchto discuss.  Over 100 delegates attendedthe symposium, representing more than 25countries.  This diversity was reflected in theextensive variety of posters andpresentations, which ranged fromunderstudied microscopic digeneanparasites, to the increasing frequency ofblooms of the giant jellyfish (Nemopilemanomurai).  The latter - behemoth jellieswhich can reach over 2 metres in size andcan weigh over 200 kilograms - used tobloom roughly every 40 years in Asia.  Butsince 2002, swarms of the giant jellies havebeen wreaking havoc for fishers in China,Korea, and Japan on an almost annual basis(Uye 2008).  Other jellies also appear to beblooming more frequently in selectlocations around the globe, and werepredictably the focus of many discussions.The keynote address was given by Dr.Daniel Pauly, who also gave the keynote atthe 2007 symposium.  Dr. Pauly will be thefirst to admit he is no medusologist, but thesmall community of jellyfish scientists iskeenly aware that knowledge fromneighbouring disciplines can beextraordinarily informative and valuable.  Dr.Pauly spoke about new investigationsuncovering links between destructivefishing methods and increased jellyfishpopulations.  While the exact mechanismsunderlying these relationships still remainto be understood, it appears that theremoval of jellyfish predators and thealteration of marine food webs mayultimately lead to more jellies (Pauly et al.2009).A potentially more important factoraffecting jellyfish populations is the removalof benthic communities through bottom-trawling.  Fish are active, visual predatorsand therefore require reasonably clear,oxygenated water to forage.  Jellies on theother hand, are mostly tactile feeders andhave a much higher tolerance for lowContinued on page 2 - JellyfishLucas dives  with jellyfish in Indian Arm, B.C.Photo by Conor McCrackenPage 2Sea Around Us – July/August 2010The Sea Around Us project newsletter ispublished by the  Fisheries Centre at theUniversity of BritishColumbia. Six issues ofthis newsletter arepublished annually.Subscriptions arefree of charge.Our mailingaddress is: UBCFisheries Centre,Aquatic EcosystemsResearch Laboratory, 2202Main Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia,Canada, V6T 1Z4. Our fax number is (604)822-8934, and our email address isSeaNotes@fisheries.ubc.ca. All queries,subscription requests, and electronicaddress changes should be addressed toMegan Bailey, Sea Around Us NewsletterEditor.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 Group supports nonprofitactivities in the areas of culture, education, the environment,health and human services, public policy and religion. Basedin Philadelphia, the Group makes strategic investments to helporganizations and citizens develop practical solutions todifficult problems. In 2000, with approximately $4.8 billion inassets, the Group committed over $235 million to 302nonprofit organizations. ISSN 1713-5214   Sea Around Us (ONLINE)... a globalpicture ofchanges incoastaljellyfishpopulationsis beginningto emerge.Continued on page 3 - JellyfishDelegates at the Third International Jellyfish Symposium.oxygen conditions.  As benthic communitiestypically help filter the water and keep the bottomconsolidated, the removal of these organismsthrough trawling and dredging may thereforebenefit jellyfish populations.  As we continue toplunder our marine ecosystems and removeexcess amounts of fish and other marine wildlife, itappears that jellyfish may be moving in to fill thevoid.I was also granted the opportunity to present at thesymposium and further expound on our work.  Inorder toidentify thecorrelationsbetweenincreasednumbers ofjellyfish anddestructivefishingmethods, wefirst need tounderstand thescope ofchanges injellyfish abundance.  While thedearth of longterm datasetsmakes this a challenge, we areusing methods that allow theinclusion of anecdotalinformation.  Marineprofessionals such as scientistsand fishers observe localenvironments on a frequentbasis and are therefore in aunique position to identifychanges and expand the limitedknowledge of jellyfishpopulation dynamics.  To       account for a wide range ofobservational data, we are weighting informationbased on space, time, and reliability.  Thoseweighted data are then stratified and pooled byLarge Marine Ecosystem, and a global picture ofchanges in coastal jellyfish populations isbeginning to emerge.  While methodsincorporating anecdotal data are not accepted inall scientific circles, we found encouragement andsupport for our approach at the symposium.  Afinal endorsement came near the end of thesymposium when I was awarded runner-up in thestudent presentation category.  Judging by thequality of other presentations at the symposium,this was a most humbling honour.The three days of conference activities were well-organized and executed, facilitating endlessdialogue and continual collaboration betweencolleagues.  The festivities culminated with acelebratory feast which highlighted not onlyrenowned Argentinian wine, but also their asador– a massive barbeque where entire racks of beefare grilled over hot coals.  It was evident to allwho attended that Argentinians are impeccablehosts, and I became even more aware of this factafter the conference ended.Jellyfish - Continued from page 1Page 3 Sea Around Us – July/August 2010 BP usedmore than1.8 milliongallons ofdispersantin thecleanup.Jellyfish - Continued from page 2As this was my first visit to South America, I choseto stay in Mar del Plata after the conclusion of thesymposium to extend my Argentinian experience.Mar del Plata is the unofficial surf capital ofArgentina, and I had brought along my wetsuitwith the hope that I might have a chance toexperience my first waves in the southernhemisphere.  Any surfer knows that a surfboard is aprecious and easily-damaged possession.  But uponhearing of my interest, I was promptly loaned aboard without hesitation by a local who I’d barelymet.  This Argentine generosity was demonstratedeven further when I returned the surfboard andwas invited in for tea.  However, this was not justany tea, but South America’s famous mate.More than a hot drink, mate is a tradition and aritual.  Made from the dried leaves of Ilexparaguayensis, yerba mate is placed in a smallgourd by the cebador (server) and filled with hotwater.  The tea is then sipped through a bombilla, asilver straw which filters the tea leaves.  The gourdis passed clockwise among friends and family, andeach has a turn sipping the potent brew, afterwhich the cebador refills the gourd with hot waterand passes it on.  It is rare to share a beverage inany culture, and with mate, that is almost entirelythe point.  It is seldom served in cafés orrestaurants, and many tourists can spend an entiretrip without sampling the potion.  I felt privilegedto be invited into this circle, and as I shared tea andstories with my new friends, I revelled inArgentinian hospitality.I have since returned home to Canada, againtrading hemispheres and thankfully, seasons.Fortunately, I brought some yerba mate back withme. Now, whenever I share this ceremony with myfriends and family I will fondly remember theproductive symposium, our gracious hosts, and miquerida Argentina.ReferencesPauly, D., Graham, W., Libralato, S., Morissette, L. andPalomares, M.L.D. (2009). Jellyfish inecosystems, online databases andecosystem models. Hydrobiologia 616 (1):67-85.Uye, S.-I. (2008). Blooms of the giant jellyfishNemopilema nomurai: a threat to thefisheries sustainability of the East AsianMarginal Seas. Plankton and BenthosResearch 3 (Supplement):125-131.Continued on page 4 - GulfThe April 20th explosion of the DeepwaterHorizon oil rig (leased by BP) and subsequentfailure of Halliburton construction(responsible for plugging holes in the pipeline)resulted in an unfettered flume that released anestimated 172 million gallons of oil into the Gulf ofMexico.  For comparison, the 1989 Exxon Valdeztanker spill was estimated at 11 million gallons.That the U.S. uses around 20 million barrels of oileach day is even more useful for perspective.  Theoil spilled by BP could fuel the American machinefor just nine days.I spent two weeks of July in the Gulf of Mexicotrying to better understand the ecological andpolitical issues around the BP oil spill, whichPresident Obama called “the worst environmentaldisaster America has ever faced.” Beside theequivalent of nine U.S. days of oil, BP used morethan 1.8 million gallons of dispersant (Corexit) inthe cleanup (hopefully the irony of using dispersalfor cleanup is self-evident), even though similarproducts are banned in Europe.  Many people Ispoke to were equally concerned about theCorexit as they were about the oil.  Will consumerswant to buy Corexit fish from the Gulf in thefuture?The platform explosion killed 11 workers, injured17 others, and the tally of wildlife deaths currentlyincludes more than 80 mammals, 550 sea turtles,and 5500 birds.  I visited the International BirdRescue’s Buras, LA operation, where they tookmany of the oiled pelicans, gulls, and terns in anOrwellian process involving Dawn dish soap, high-pressure hoses, tender loving care, and at least fourvet techs, followed by a week of rest and a flight orlong ride to Georgia or Florida for release; and justwhen things were getting better for the Brownpelican (Pelecanus occidentalis), too.  In November2009, the Brown pelican was delisted from the U.SEndangered Species List and pointed to as an iconof success for legislative actions like banning DDTand protecting bird habitat. The BP oil spill isimpacting the recovered pelican population (anestimated 16,000 pairs nest along the Louisianacoast) and their nesting sites, which has sparkedtalks of a relisting.Has BP “made it right”?by Jennifer JacquetPage 4Sea Around Us – July/August 2010Publications Mail Agreement No: 41104508BP is awareof everydatainsufficiencybecause oftheirinvolvementin everydiscussionrelated toclean upand futurerecovery.This is theirspill.Gulf - Continued from page 3In addition to the immediate ecological losses,there are economic losses with most fishermenand seafood processors out of work due to fishingclosures (high-end restaurants and condos arealso losing money due to a decline in tourism).The seafood processors (e.g. Alabama’s Bayou leBatre community, the largest seafood processingindustry in the Gulf and more than 50%Vietnamese) seem to be hurting most.  AlthoughBP is obligated to compensate for theseeconomic hardships, I heard there arecomplications due to the fact that a lot of fishingbusiness is done under the table and BP does notacknowledge economic losses without thepaperwork.But many fishermen are making more moneythan they would have fishing.  This was also trueafter the 1989 Exxon oil spill, Exxon transferred“life-changing sums of money” into the hands offishermen and created “spillionaires” bycommissioning fishing boats for the clean up,explained Charles Wohlforth, a former reporter onthe Exxon spill, in his recent book The Fate ofNature.  BP has adopted a similar strategy andeuphemistically call it the Vessels of Opportunityprogram, which is short-term but financiallyattractive. I heard one fisherman in the Vessel ofOpportunity program say that the BP oil spill wasGod’s way of redistributing wealth.While some outcomes of the oil spill, likeblackened birds, out of work fishermen, andclean-up costs, make headlines, other outcomesare less obvious. Scientists I spoke with, such asKen Heck at Dauphin Island Marine Station, areconcerned about increased mortality during thelarval phases of fish and invertebrates, which areplanktonic and not able to avoid patches of oil theway free-swimmers might. Experimentsconducted after Exxon Valdez have shown thatvery small amounts of oil can have sublethalaffects as well. Fortunately for BP, the ecology ofthe Gulf was already crippled, and they know it.Other scientists, including a few from The US Fish& Wildlife Service, say this is their major point ofconcern.  They worry BP will subvert the recoveryprocess because there is inadequate baselinedata.  BP is aware of every data insufficiencybecause of their involvement in every discussionrelated to clean up and future recovery. This istheir spill.While we’re comparing the Exxon and BP spills, it’sworth noting a recent headline in the New YorkTimes about how “BP’s Oil Spill Bill Could DwarfExxon’s Valdez Tab”.  In both nominal and realterms, this headline is true. In U.S. dollars, the costof the Exxon clean up was $2 billion (1989dollars), corresponding to $3.58 billion today. Thisis in comparison to the cost of the BP clean up,estimated at $6.1 billion.  However, this headlinegreatly ignores the fact that the BP oil spilldwarfed Exxon’s. If we standardize for size of thespill, BP’s tab is much lower. Given that the BP spillis more than 15 times larger than the Exxon spill,we could assume BP should spend 15 times moreon cleanup than Exxon did, or around $53.7 billiondollars — $47.6 billion more than BP has spent.Soon after the spill, BP began strategizing andspending on a major ad campaign to convince thepublic that BP “will get this done” and “make itright”.  There are plenty of reasons to doubt that BPwill make the Gulf right.  As we all know, talk ischeap - even if their communicationcampaign has cost BP more than $50 million.A team of vet techs washes a Brown pelican at the IBRRC in Buras, LA (left)., and a shrimp boat in BP's Vessel of Opportunityprogram hauling boom to clean up oil off of Grand Isle, LA (right).            Photos by Jennifer Jacquet.Page 5 Sea Around Us – July/August 2010In early 2010, we undertook a catchreconstruction study of Mauritius and its outerIslands. Our group’s task was to estimate likelytotal removals of marine resources by Mauritiusfrom 1950 to 2008. The method for catchreconstruction aims to account for Illegal,Unreported and Unregulated fisheries catches (IUU)through estimation approaches (e.g., Zeller et al.,2007). Indeed, although countries are often awareof such unreported catches, they are generally nottaken into account in the officially-reportedstatistics. However, when considering the effects offisheries on marine ecosystems, knowledge of totalfisheries removals is important. In addition, small-scale fisheries are the mainstay of inhabitants ofmany small island countries worldwide, andtherefore knowledge of their importance in termsof catches is essential if a sustainable future forfisheries is the goal.Mauritius is located some 850 km east ofMadagascar, and is an island state comprisingseveral dependencies in the western Indian Ocean,namely the islands of Rodrigues, St Brandon shoalsand islets, and the twin islands of Agalega. OnMauritius and Rodrigues, the main populatedislands, lagoon and inshore fisheries remain animportant source of employment and food security.On both islands, most of the people who exploit theinshore areas are not commercial, but subsistencefishers, i.e., people in search of a meal, or tosupplement their income. Also, in response to anincreasing demand for seafood, coupled withreduced catches and new regulations, many fishershave recently resorted to illegal fishing methods,using fine-meshed nets, illegal spearguns andlanding undersized fish (Hollup, 2000). Moreover,Mauritius is visited by an increasing number oftourists each year, and these visitors, partly throughtheir recreational activities, add to the fishingpressure on marine resources. Although suchcatches have been mentioned previously (Pearson,1988), they have never been estimated over a longtime period, even though long time series offisheries catches are necessary to evaluate theecological effect of fisheries on marineecosystems.For 1950-2008, our total reconstructed catches forthe state of Mauritius were 42 percent higher thanthe official statistics reported by Mauritius to FAO.This discrepancy was largely due to the under-reporting of small-scale catches for Mauritius andRodrigues islands, which represented 25 and 23percent of the total reconstructed catches,respectively. For both islands, this discrepancy waslargely due to the inclusion of part-time fishers inour estimated catches. Also, one of the advantagesof our study is that it permits the discrimination ofthe Mauritian fisheries catches by islands andfishing areas, whereas the publically reportedcatches for Mauritius do not.by Léa Boistol*, Sarah Harper, Shawn Booth and Dirk ZellerReconstructing the catches of Mauritius One of theadvantages ofour study isthat it permitsthediscriminationof theMauritianfisheriescatches byislands andfishing areas.Map of the western Indian Ocean region with ExclusiveEconomic Zones (EEZ) represented.   By Kristin Kleisner.Reconstructed small-scale catches for Rodrigues Island 1950-2008. Top:  reported and total reconstructed small-scalecatches;  Bottom:  total reconstructed small-scale catches bycategory of fishers with nearshore illegal catches.Continued on page 6 - MauritiusPage 6Sea Around Us – July/August 2010Apart from the small-scale catch component, ourtotal reconstructed catches include estimates ofcatches for the important Mauritian fishery carriedout on offshore oceanic banks, sport fisheries forpelagic species, near-shore recreational catches,and discards of the industrial tuna purse seinefishery.Our study illustrates the urgent need for betterreporting of catches for the various fisheriessectors of Mauritius, especially for the small-scalefisheries sector, which provides food and a sourceof income for a large portion of the population. InMauritius, depletion of marine resources is aconcern. Although management legislation existssince colonial days, it only limits the use of specificgears, and suggests fish reserves and closedseasons for nets (Hollup 2000). Regulations shouldinclude access limitations to the fisheries resourcesof the lagoon area. However, alternatives are alsoneeded for the numerous fishers who depend onthese resources for their livelihoods.ReferencesHollup, O. (2000) Structural and socioculturalconstraints for user-group participation infisheries management in Mauritius. MarinePolicy 24: 407-421.Pearson, M. P. (1988). Rodrigues. Rapid survey ofthe status of exploitation andenvironmental damage of the lagoon andcoral reefs off Rodrigues. Report preparedfor the project assistance to artisanal fishersand development of outer-reef fishery. FAO,Rome. 49 pp.Zeller, D., Booth, S., Davis, G. and Pauly, D. (2007)Re-estimation of small scale fisheriescatches for the U.S. flag-associated islandareas in the Western Pacific: The last 50years. Fishery Bulletin 105:266-277.*Léa Boistol joined the Sea Around Us project fromJanuary to June 2010, as part of her graduatestudies at the Centre d’Océanologie de Marseille,France.Alder, J., Cullis-Suzuki, S., Karpouzi, V., Kaschner, K., Mondoux, S., Swartz, W., Trujillo, P., Watson, R. andPauly, D. (2010) Aggregate performance in managing marine ecosystems in 53 maritimecountries. Marine Policy 34: 468-476.Bailey, M., Sumaila, U.R. and Lindroos, M. (2010) Application of game theory to fisheries over threedecades. Fisheries Research 102: 1-8.Brown, C.J., Fulton, E.A., Hobday, A.J., Matear, R., Possingham, H., Bulman, C., Christensen, V., Forrest,R., Gehrke, P., Gribble, N., Griffiths, S., Lozano-Montes, H., Martin, J., Metcalf, S., Okey, T., Watson,R. and Richardson, A.J. (2010) Ecological interactions will determine winners and losersunder climate change in marine ecosystems and fisheries. Global Change Biology 16: 1194-1212. Cheung, W.W.L, Lam, V.W.Y, Sarmieno, J.L., Kearney, K., Watson, R., Zeller, D. and Pauly, D. (2010)Large-scale redistribution of maximum fisheries catch potential in the global ocean underclimate change. Global Change Biology 16: 24-35.Christensen, V. (2010) MEY = MSY. Fish and Fisheries 11: 105-110.Dalleau, M., Andréfouët, S., Wabnitz, C., Payri, C., Wantiez, L., Pichon, M., Friedman, K., Vigliola, L. andBenzoni, F. (2010) Use of habitats as surrogates of biodiversity for efficient coral reefconservation planning in Pacific Ocean islands. Conservation Biology 24: 541-552.Jacquet, J., Hocevar, J., Lai, S., Majluf, P., Pelletier, N., Pitcher, T., Sala, E., Sumaila, U.R. and Pauly, D.(2010) Conserving wild fish in a sea of market based efforts. Oryx 44: 45-56.Ma, H., Townsend, H., Zhang, X., Sigrist, M. and Christensen, V. (2010) Using a fisheries ecosystemmodel with a water quality model to explore trophic and habitat impacts on fisheries stock:A case study of the blue crab population in Chesapeake Bay. Ecological Modelling 221: 997-1004.Swartz, W., Sumaila, U.R., Watson, R. and Pauly, D. (2010) Sourcing seafood for the three majormarkets: The EU, Japan and the USA. Marine Policy 34: 1366-1373.Wielgus, J., Zeller, D., Caicedo-Herrera, D. and Sumaila, U.R. (2010) Estimation of fisheries removalsand primary economic impact of the small-scale and industrial marine fisheries in Colombia.Marine Policy 34: 506-513.2010 publications, January-AugustMauritius - Continued from page 5


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