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fish

Karen attends the 2018 Seafood Summit

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Karen attends the 2018 Seafood Summit

This past June, Karen attended the 2018 Seafood Summit in Barcelona as one of 5 Seafood Scholars. The Summit brings together global representatives from the seafood industry with leaders from the conservation community, academia, and government. The goal of the Summit is to define success and advance solutions in sustainable seafood by fostering dialogue and partnerships that lead to a seafood marketplace that is environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable. Supported by SeaWeb, Karen was able to attend the 18th Seafood Summit to share lessons learned from her Master’s work on fishery improvement projects, as well as, learn about the work of global fisheries experts. This year, one of the biggest topics of discussion was how to incorporate social responsibility into the seafood sector, with emphasis on how worker voices are a key element of building socially responsible seafood supply chains.

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Eddie spends summer at the Lancaster Environment Center

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Eddie spends summer at the Lancaster Environment Center

For a month this summer, Eddie has been a Distinguished Visitor with the Lancaster Environment Center (LEC) at Lancaster University in the UK, with Drs Christina Hicks and Nick Graham, pictured above enjoying an impromptu after-work picnic, overlooking the Morecambe Bay estuary. Together, they have been working on publications and research proposals at the intersection between fisheries, nutrition and health. Eddie also gave a talk on ‘Fishing for Nutrition’ at LEC on July 4th, and on July 11th was interviewed about waste in fish value chains on BBC World Service Radio’s ‘Newsday’ program. 

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Is Aquaculture Feeding the People Who Need It Most?

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Is Aquaculture Feeding the People Who Need It Most?

This is a central question in a paper Eddie co-authored in Nature entitled "Nutrition: Fall in fish catch threatens human health," last June. The paper concluded that aquaculture was displacing wild catch fisheries in many places; particularly, in places where nutritionally vulnerable people were neither accessing aquaculture-grown fish nor benefiting from its industry profits. In response, industry and researchers alike questioned the representation of aquaculture in developing countries publishing an article in the journal Global Food Security.

Surrounding the debate: Eddie believes that both teams are actually mostly on the same page, even if their conclusions were different. At the end of March, Eddie was interviewed about this research and his take on some of the contention surrounding their findings. Read about it here!

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Koehn and Allison Launch Inaugural Research Grant

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Koehn and Allison Launch Inaugural Research Grant

This fall, PhD Student Zach Koehn and Eddie Allison, along with faculty from the School of Public Health and the School of Aquatic and Fisheries Sciences, were selected to lead one of 5 inaugural pilot grants from the University of Washington’s Population Health Initiative. The Initiative encourages interdisciplinary problem solving at the intersection of human health, environmental resilience and socioeconomic equity. The grant will support Zach’s PhD research linking fisheries and food systems to address diet-based public health issues facing US West Coast communities.

Selected from a pool of more than 60 projects, this project will evaluate whether low-value or bycaught fish can enter local markets in areas with low income or low access to affordable healthy foods. On the project, Koehn noted "in low-income coastal populations, access and availability of healthy foods can be low, and there is a high incentive for people to substitute towards more affordable, but energy-dense nutrient poor food. Cost-effective bycaught species can provide a competitive alternative particularly for rural coastal communities where fishery landings are high. Unfortunately, there is little guidance on how fishery managers and related institutions can operationalize these goals towards equitable population health outcomes, particularly for tribes or low income and diaspora populations with traditional reliance on seafood." 

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Two papers published in Nature

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Two papers published in Nature

This past week Professor Allison co-authored not one, but two papers published in the journal Nature. The studies published represent two different aspects of his work: one takes a statistical approach to 'big data' in order to glean understanding from global patterns of reef health, while the other focuses on the role fish play in nutrition worldwide. Both are global in scale. 

 

1. 'Bright Spots' in Coral Reefs 

Lead by Joshua Cinner of James Cook University, the first paper is a truly collaborative effort with nearly 40 authors representing over 30 institutions. With a forward-looking approach, the gaggle of researchers champion the idea that outliers are not just anomalies, but sources of potential game-changing information. They apply this concept to the future of coral reefs by identifying and learning from both 'bright spots' and 'dark spots' - in other words, reefs that are doing better than might be expected and those that are doing worse than would typically be expected. After compiling data from more than 2,500 reefs worldwide, the authors identified 15 bright spots and 35 dark spots. The study revealed that bright spots are characterized by strong sociocultural institutions, high levels of local engagement in management, high dependence on marine resources and beneficial environmental conditions.

Bright and dark spot locations (b) and the extent to which they deviated from expected biomass levels (a). Almost all bright spots are located in the Pacific Ocean.

Bright and dark spot locations (b) and the extent to which they deviated from expected biomass levels (a). Almost all bright spots are located in the Pacific Ocean.

Other authors include Tim McClanahan of Wildlife Conservation Society, Stuart Sandin of Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Jack Kittinger of Conservation International Hawaii, Larry Crowder of Stanford's Center for Ocean Solutions and Rashid Sumaila of University of British Columbia's Fisheries Economics Research Unit.

 

2. Fish Catch and Human Health

The second paper is lead by Christopher Golden of Harvard University and Professor Allison and presents calculations suggesting that declining numbers of marine fish will lead to malnutrition for 11 percent of the global population, or 845 million people. The authors note that fish are an important source of micronutrients - such as zinc, vitamin-A, and iron - in addition to their more widely acknowledged role of providing protein. By combining data on fish catch and dietary nutrition, the study suggests that low-latitude developing nations, in which human health is most dependent on fish, will also be the most impacted by decreases in fish catch and availability.

Projected changes in marine catch globally.

Projected changes in marine catch globally.

The other authors on the study are William W.L.Cheung, Madan M. Dey, Douglas J. McCauley, Matthew Smith, Bapu Vaitla, Dirk Zeller and Samuel S. Meyers.

Read more about Allison’s work in the UW Today articles Bright spots’ shine light on the future of coral reefs & Falling fish catches could mean malnutrition in the developing world.

 

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