The Nassau grouper: an endangered, boldly striped fish that was once plentiful in southern coastal Florida, the Florida Keys, Bermuda, the Yucatan, and the Caribbean Sea. For more than 20 years, conservationists in the Caribbean have been working to protect this endangered species. Climate change now threatens to undo all of it.
Twenty six million tons of seafood, worth $23 billion is illegally caught, unregulated and unreported every year. According to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization, this is a “huge threat to all efforts to bolster sustainable fishing in the world’s oceans.”
The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals are an admirable set of targets set out to achieve a better world–but how do they interact with each other? Are some more pivotal to the success of all? Possibly.
All the big names in the field were in attendance; the 5 days of presentations crystallized how far we have come in understanding what climate change will mean for ocean systems. But we still have a long way to go before we achieve climate-ready ocean resource management.
I think what inspires me most about this group is that it values a diverse array of approaches to research. We reward the type of disciplinary flexibility and freedom that most academic organizations tend to smother. Nereus lets us be who we want to be, not who they want us to be
As coastal and surface fisheries are depleted and fishers turn to the deep sea to fill their nets, scientists are developing innovative ways to locate and protect undiscovered deep-sea habitats.
Small-scale fisheries are vital to communities around the world, but their value is severely underestimated. Hear more about their importance to global catch and culture from experts at the Nereus Program, WorldFish, FAO and Duke.
The most prevalent seafood supply chain is the shortest one: from the ocean to the plate. And that’s the one we have the least information on. Small-scale fisheries are vital to coastal communities around the world, but their contributions to global harvests are severely underestimated.
What happens to big prey when you fish out all of their big predators? Nereus researchers dig deeper into size-specific diet shifts.
What is socially responsible seafood and what can you do about it? Hear from the experts at the Nereus Program, Fair Trade USA, Sustainable Fisheries Partnership and the International Labor Rights Forum.
Behind the scenes with a determined group of human rights and fisheries experts working to bring social responsibility to the forefront of sustainable fishing.
Sustainable? Wild? Local? Seafood consumption can be difficult to follow. So we asked ocean scientists from The Nereus Program to stop floundering and tell us whether it’s okay to eat fish, and if so, which.
Reducing tourist consumption of reef fish is critical for Palau’s ocean sustainability, finds a new Nippon Foundation-UBC Nereus Program study published today in Marine Policy.
It’s fairly common knowledge that tuna is high in methylmercury, a neurotoxin that bioaccumulates in marine food webs. This means that methylmercury magnifies further up the food web – tuna eat smaller fish that eat even smaller fish or plankton — all of which could contain the contaminant.
Climate change is expected to have many impacts on the oceans; one of them is where fish are located in the ocean. Ocean warming is expected to cause fish to shift to different locations that are cooler — generally toward the poles and into deeper waters. But not all fish are moving in the same directions and at the same speeds. This is changing what fish are eating and who are eating them.
The authors looked at how food production on land and in the sea will be threatened by climate change and what the future effects on biodiversity, livelihoods and food security will be. They adopted the human development index (HDI) — a global index of life expectancy, education and per capita income. They found that all of the low human development index countries will face declines in both agriculture and fisheries production by 2050.
The rapid development of fisheries in the 1950’s facilitated declines in predator biomass, overexploitation, collapse of fish stocks, and degradation of marine habitats. A new PLOS ONE paper investigates past changes in trophic functioning of marine ecosystems cause by human-induced changes in species assemblages by applying an ecosystem approach to fisheries.
Pacific bluefin tuna are in trouble — they’re at just 2.6% of historic, pre-fishing levels. They have been overfished and this overfishing is still continuing. Due to this dire situation, proper management of the stocks is increasingly important, yet information of the fish’s life history and migration patterns is limited.
Developing nations, which have contributed little to the issue of climate change, are likely to experience reduced livelihood opportunities and emerging dietary nutrient deficiencies as a result of climate change impacts on fisheries.
Fisheries Economics Research Unit (UBC) Research Associate Louise Teh, Nereus Director of Science William Cheung, and OceanCanada Director and Nereus Research Associate (Honourary) Rashid Sumaila recently had a paper (“Scenarios for investigating the future of Canada’s oceans and marine fisheries under environmental and socioeconomic change”) published in Regional Environmental Change…
Indigenous seafood consumption study featured in the Washington Post, CBC, and Metro News.
Traditionally, Indigenous people have resisted research, especially quantitative research that has fed into the imposition of discriminatory socio-economic and political policies to the detriment of Indigenous communities. However, having access to a global database that quantifies fish consumption specifically by Coastal Indigenous peoples around the world, is a critical contribution to Indigenous struggle on a number of fronts.
“Our energy choices have ramifications for many other types of pollutants,” said Elsie Sunderland, Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Engineering at Harvard University and Nereus Program collaborator.
Nereus Fellow at Princeton University Colleen Petrik won the Science Board Best Presentation Award at the North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES) annual meeting, held in San Diego, from November 2 to 11.
From November 2 to 13, the North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PICES) held their annual meeting in San Diego, USA. The meeting celebrated the 25th anniversary of PICES with the theme of looking at the past 25 years and imagining the next 25.
This information sheet looks at Japanese seafood imports and locations of forced and child labour.
For the past ten years, Sea Around Us has been constructing a more accurate view of world fishery catches, finding, among other things, that 30% of catch goes unreported.
“Emptying seas, mounting tensions in fish-hungry Asia” was published yesterday by Nikkei Asian Review. It discusses the state and future of oceans and fisheries in Asia, with increasing demand yet overfished stocks, and features insights by Nereus Director of Policy Yoshitaka Ota.
Mexico recently released its budget for 2017, and among the top five largest cuts were environmental protection (down by 37%), culture (-30%), and education (-11%). Political rhetoric aside, these cuts reflect a continuing view of these issues as minor, long-term, or otherwise less important or pressing.
“After climate change, fishing is the biggest impact humans will have on the oceans. But we have very a limited understanding of what happens beyond the horizon.
This chapter explores recent and future impacts of rapid temperature changes in the North Sea, identified as a ‘hot spot’ of climate change, with respect to biological, operational, and economic concerns in fisheries.
Nereus Fellow at Utrecht Richard Caddell acted as the keynote speaker at a fisheries law workshop on September 23 at Tromsø University, Tromsø, Norway.
We know the oceans are quickly changing; we are at a point in time where very different future oceans could be laid out in front of us.
In spring, as the plant buds push up through the ground and the days get warmer and longer, the baby salmon fry hatch out of their eggs and start swimming and feeding. At this time, their food – phytoplankton – should also bloom.
Nereus Program research featured in Wired, NEWS 1130, The Ubyssey, and Conservation magazine.
Nereus Principal Investigator at Utrecht University Erik Molenaar and the Netherlands Institute for the Law of the Sea (NILOS) hosted a seminar on fishing in the polar regions on September 12 at Utrecht University.
Nereus Fellow at UBC Mathieu Colléter participated in the Day of the Thousandth Fisheries Scientist conference, which took place at Agrocampus Ouest in Rennes, France, on September 16.
This year, the Nereus Program will hold a seminar series with UBC’s Green College on “Adapting to global changes in oceans and fisheries.” This series will consist of seven lectures looking at how ocean changes are affecting environments and people.
Nereus Alumni at ETH Zurich Thomas Fröelicher attended The Royal Society’s meeting on ‘Ocean Ventilation and Deoxygenation in a Warming World’ on September 12 and 13, in London, United Kingdom.
Nereus Program research featured in Global News, CBC Radio Canada, Metro News, and CKNW AM 980.
Global fisheries could lose approximately $10 billion of annual revenues by 2050 if climate change continues at current rates, and countries most dependent on fisheries for food and livelihoods will feel more of the effects, finds new Nippon Foundation-Nereus Program research published today in Scientific Reports.
Jessica Spijkers is a PhD student at the Stockholm Resilience Centre (Sweden) and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (Australia).
Explaining Ocean Warming is a comprehensive report produced by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) looking at the impacts of warming on ocean life, ecosystems, and goods and services. The report is the work of 80 scientists from 12 countries, launched during the IUCN World Conservation Congress, September 1-10 in Hawaii. Nereus Program research was contributed to two chapters within the report.
Nereus Program research covered in National Geographic, Reuters, CBC Radio Canada, Metro, LocalXpress, and Sport Fishing.
Closing the high seas to fishing could increase fish catches in coastal waters by 10%, compensating for expected losses due to climate change, finds a new Nippon Foundation-Nereus Program study published in Fish and Fisheries.
The Nereus Scientific & Technical Briefs on Marine Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ) series was developed out of a workshop held prior to this year’s 4th International Marine Conservation Congress in St. John’s, Newfoundland (July-August 2016).
Nereus Fellow at University of Cambridge/UNEP-WCMC Rachel Seary attended the 1st FishAdapt conference on climate change adaptation for fisheries and aquaculture, held in Bangkok from August 8 to 10, 2016.
Marine areas beyond the limits of national jurisdiction contain ecosystems with marine resources and biodiversity of significant ecological, socioeconomic, and cultural importance. These areas and their resources are subject to increasing impacts from ongoing human activities and global climate change and their associated cumulative and combined effects.
A new source of publicly accessible data on fishing vessel activity is providing unprecedented insight into the scope of fishing in areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ) and governance gaps therein.
Up until the 1960s, the open-ocean in areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ) was one of the last frontiers of fisheries exploitation.
Despite their remoteness, the high seas and deep ocean in areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ) are at the forefront of CO2-induced climate stress, both in their mitigation capacity, and their vulnerabilities.
Nereus Director of Policy Yoshitaka Ota acted as moderator at the International Symposium on Capacity Building for Sustainable Oceans from July 19 to 20 in Tokyo, Japan.
Newly published in the Asia-Pacific Journal of Ocean Law and Policy is the paper “Dispute Resolution and Scientific Whaling in the Antarctic: The Story Continues” by Nereus Fellow Richard Caddell, Utrecht University. The paper looks at the implications of judgements by the International Court of Justice against Japanese scientific whaling in the Southern Ocean.
Nereus Alumni and Research Fellow at Duke University Andre Boustany attended the International Scientific Committee for Tuna and Tuna-like Species in the North Pacific Ocean (ISC) plenary meeting in Sapporo, Japan, from July 13th to July 18th.
One of the most significant – and increasingly bitter – international disputes of recent years has engaged legal claims over maritime territory in the South China Sea. Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982 (UNCLOS), to which the main protagonists are parties, states are entitled to claim an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) conferring sovereign rights and jurisdiction up to 200 nautical miles of maritime space from their coasts.
It’s important to address the activities of transnational corporations in global fishery reform, argues a new letter co-authored by Nereus Program Principal Investigator Henrik Österblom, Stockholm Resilience Centre, and published in PNAS.
Senior Nereus Fellow at Duke University, Daniel Dunn, acted as a panelist at a COMPASS Capitol Hill briefingon ocean change and implications for fisheries and fishing communities.
“Towards an integrated database on Canadian ocean resources: benefits, current states, and research gaps” was recently published in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, authored by Nereus Fellow Andrés Cisneros-Montemayor (UBC), Director of Science William Cheung, and OceanCanada Director Rashid Sumaila (Nereus Honorary Research Associate).
Aquaculture, the farming of aquatic species, is gradually becoming an important aspect of solving the challenge of global food security. The supply of seafood from fisheries is declining; fish stocks can only be increased if we reduce our fishing pressures, yet governments continue to subsidize the fishing industry for us to fish more. Hence, the open window we have is aquaculture.
n the lead up to last week’s referendum on whether the United Kingdom should remain in the European Union, immigration often seemed to be at the forefront at the debate. But the fishing industry was also a hot topic, even leading to demonstrations and bitter exchanges on the impact of EU membership, including from boats on the Thames.
For five days, from May 23rd to 27th, and 14 years after the 1st World Fisheries Congress in Athens, Greece, the 7th World Fisheries Congress visited Busan, the second largest city of South Korea.
The Nereus Program organized a workshop with the Center for Ocean Solutions and the Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security called “Integrating climate change and small scale fisheries: Impact shocks and responses.”
Nereus Program research and interviews in Vice, the Globe and Mail, and Radio Canada International.
The Nereus Program was created to look at ocean questions that need input from experts on a range of topics from around the world. This past May 30 to June 3, nearly 50 of these experts gathered at the University of British Columbia for the Nereus Program Annual General Meeting.
More than 10% of the global population could face nutrition deficiencies in the coming decades due to fish catch declines, says a new Nature commentary published today co-authored by Nereus Director of Science William Cheung.
The Nereus Program presented at the Global Fishing Watch Research Workshop on June 6th and 7th at Google’s offices in San Francisco, California, United States.
Fish don’t respect borders. With 1982’s United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, coastal nations were given the right to manage fisheries within their Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) – the area that extends, generally, up to 200 nautical miles. But of course, fish don’t adhere to imaginary lines in the ocean.
Paris tends to relate to fisheries through its gourmet cuisine, which every so often includes fish. However, in December 2015, Paris was the epicenter of the renowned United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 21), which aimed at setting a target to curb Carbon emissions at a global scale.
Japanese call it shun (?), the seasonality of food. It refers to the time of year when a specific type of food is at its peak, either in terms of harvest or flavour. It is not unique to Japanese culture, as The Byrds reminded us in the mid-1960s with their, now classic, rendition of “Turn! Turn! Turn! (to Everything There Is a Season).”
Richard Caddell, Nereus Fellow at Utrecht, has contributed a chapter entitled “‘Only connect’? Regime interaction and global biodiversity conservation” to the Research Handbook on Biodiversity and Law, to be published June 2016.
The Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), released in 2013 and 2014, highlighted the vulnerability, impacts and adaptation of marine systems to climate change and ocean acidification.
The paper “Temperature-based targeting in a multispecies fishery under climate change” was recently published in Fisheries Oceanography by Nereus Program Fellow Daniel Dunn (Duke University) and Principal Investigator Patrick Halpin (Duke University). The study looked at whether the bottom temperature of the water, in spring and fall, affected the distribution of Atlantic cod in the USA Northeast compared to other species of fish.
Andre Boustany, Nereus Alumnus (Duke University), attended the ICCAT Advisory Committee Meeting and the Highly Migratory Species Advisory Panel Meeting in March. Boustany sits on the advisory panel for both.
Nereus Program research and interviews featured in Vox, Deutschlandfunk, and Toronto Star.
OceanCanada Research Director Rashid Sumaila and his collaborators from the UBC Global Fisheries Cluster (Sea Around Us and the Nereus Program) have published an updated estimate of global fisheries subsidies in the international journal Marine Policy. The researchers found that the global fishing industry is being supported by $35 billion yearly in government subsidies, the majority of these, upwards of $20 billion annually, promote increased capacity that can lead to harmful impacts such as overfishing.
A range of human pressures is threatening the sustainability of marine fisheries. Amongst those, overfishing, partly driven by Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing, is a major stressor. Thirty percent of global fish catch goes unreported, found a recent study by Nereus Program collaborator Sea Around Us.
Recently published in Fisheries Oceanography,by Nereus Alumnus Andre Boustany (Duke University) and Principal Investigator Patrick Halpin (Duke University), was the study “Tuna and swordfish catch in the U.S. northwest Atlantic longline fishery in relation to mesoscale eddies”.
While jellyfish, with their soft, gelatinous bodies, may seem like innocuous creatures, when they occur in large blooms they can often cause detrimental effects. Jellyfish blooms have been observed to clog power plants, cause mass mortality to fish in aquaculture farms, burst fishing nets and even sink a 10 tonne fishing vessel.
For three days from January 18th to 20th, Monterey, California, has become an aggregation hotspot for more than 100 of the world’s foremost experts on the conservation and management of the three bluefin tuna species that inhabit our global ocean.
A new Nereus Program study, funded by the Nippon Foundation, finds that dynamic ocean management, which changes in real time in response to the nature of the ocean and its users, can reduce bycatch — fish and marine species caught accidentally while catching targeted species — without additional costs to fishers.
Countries drastically underreport the number of fish caught worldwide, and the numbers obscure a significant decline in the total catch.
Nereus research reported on in the Washington Post, the Vancouver Sun, CTV News, Global News, NPR, Hakai magazine, The Tyee, Times Colonist and Vancouver Observer.
First Nations fisheries’ catch could decline by nearly 50 per cent by 2050, according to a new study examining the threat of climate change to the food and economic security of indigenous communities along coastal British Columbia, Canada.
Based on the current trajectory of human-induced impacts on the environment, it is clear that we are pushing the oceans and marine ecosystems to unprecedented limits.
Climate change could affect temperatures all over the world, but what may not be immediately apparent is that climate change will affect ocean temperatures.
From November 20 to December 11, leaders from more than 195 countries will meet in Paris to discuss the future of the planet. But will oceans be on the agenda?
New media coverage from Science, BBC News, South China Morning Post, International Business Times, Undercurrent News and more.
Vicky Lam, Fisheries Economist and Senior Research Fellow (UBC), was invited by the Fraser Basin Council to give a presentation on the impacts of climate change on fisheries on the coast of northwest British Columbia, Canada.
In A Sand County Almanac, the landmark book on wilderness, ecology, and conservation, we are offered a short anecdote regarding a changing environment:
“I had a bird dog named Gus. When Gus couldn’t find pheasants he worked up an enthusiasm for Sora rails and meadowlarks. This whipped-up zeal for unsatisfactory substitutes masked his failure to find the real thing. It assuaged his inner frustration.” – Aldo Leopold (1949).