Viewing entries tagged
fisheries

Uncovering freshwater fish harvest

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Uncovering freshwater fish harvest

In the absence of complete freshwater fish catch data, how can we assess and value the contribution of freshwater fish to local consumption? This is the central question recently explored by Fluet-Chouinard et al. in Global hidden harvest of freshwater fish revealed by household surveys. Understanding that "experts have long believed that fish catches from rivers and lakes are underreported" they backcalculated freshwater fish harvests using surveys of household consumption. Having collected data from 548,000 households across 42 countries, they found that:

  • freshwater catches are likely to be ∼65% higher than officially reported

  • these hidden harvests are concentrated in low-income countries where they represent the equivalent of the total annual animal protein consumption of 36.9 million people, and

  • long-term underreporting of inland fisheries masks their critical role in feeding the world’s poor and complicates using catch statistics to evaluate the impact of overharvest and ecosystem degradation

This study provides a way of estimating inland water freshwater fish production in a manner that maybe easier than the difficult task of assessing and monitoring freshwater fish catches. Additionally, it yields useful information on people's diets and the nutrient contribution of fish to those diets. As noted above, the headline finding is that we currently underestimate global inland fish catches by 65%. Inland fish catches are more important than we thought, and need to be considered in water resource management and food and nutrition policies. 

This week, Eddie and colleague Dave Mills of WorldFish published a commentary piece to Fluet-Chouinard et al.'s publication, entitled Counting the fish eaten rather than the fish caught in which they argue that Fluet-Chouinard's use of household food consumption surveys provides a critical methodology and potential solution to long-term underreporting of inland fisheries. This methodology contributes to a rapidly growing policy discussion about the role of fish in nutrition and food security. 

Both articles are available upon request. 

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Special guest lecture: Professor Ussif Rashid Sumaila

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Special guest lecture: Professor Ussif Rashid Sumaila

This coming week MARINA Lab and the School of Marine and Environmental Affairs will host a special guest lecture from Professor Ussif Rashid Sumaila, who will speak on his cutting-edge bioeconomic research around the future of high seas management.

Professor Sumaila's talk is titled "Effective high seas management is necessary for the sustainability of the global ocean," but Professor Allison notes that, "behind this innocuous title is a bold proposition to make the entire ocean beyond areas of national jurisdiction a giant marine protected area, closed to fisheries, and potentially to other economic activities too (such as deep-sea hydrothermal vent mining)."  He adds that, "The original economic proposition has been enlarged to consider the effects of such closure on climate resilience of the oceans and nutrition security of coastal and island nations." 

Dr. Sumaila is Professor and Director of the Fisheries Economics Research Unit at the University of British Columbia. He received his Ph.D. from Bergen University, Norway, and holds a B.Sc. with honors from Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria. Dr. Sumaila is deeply interested in how economics, through integration with ecology and other disciplines, can be used to help ensure that ocean resources are sustainably managed for the benefit of both current and future generations. He specializes in bioeconomics, marine ecosystem valuation and the analysis of global issues such as fisheries subsidies, IUU (illegal, unreported and unregulated) fishing and the economics of high and deep seas fisheries. Sumaila has experience working in fisheries and natural resource projects in Norway, Canada and the North Atlantic region, Namibia and the Southern African region, Ghana and the West African region and Hong Kong and the South China Sea.

Dr. Sumaila has earned many prestigious awards in the course of his career including the just announced 2017 Excellence in Science Award by the Peter Benchley Ocean Award.

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Second-year Hannah Bassett on fieldwork, language and decolonization

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Second-year Hannah Bassett on fieldwork, language and decolonization

As a Foreign Language and Areas Studies (FLAS) Fellow, second-year Hannah Bassett is currently in the Philippines where she is doing fieldwork for her thesis on Philippine dive fisheries and continuing her Tagalog and Filipino culture studies. In a blog piece posted today, Hannah shares some of her poignant experiences in the learning process and breaks down the often overlooked role that language can play in either continuing colonialism or, instead, working toward decolonization.

Published in the SMEA blog, "Currents: Navigating society & sea," which Hannah founded and leads as Editor-In-Chief, the full post can be read here.

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Report on integration of fisheries into food security policy presented to UN

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Report on integration of fisheries into food security policy presented to UN

Professor Allison and colleagues have long been advocating for increased consideration of food security in fishery policy and vice versa.  "Fisheries and the oceans are finally being featured in high-level discussions about food security, after years of trying to make the case that fish and seafood are important components of the global food system - and not just a concern for marine conservation or trade discussions," noted Professor Allison. "While that message seems to be getting through, a concern of our FAO partners was that most UN country officers and organizations concerned with food security at national and local levels were not very familiar with fisheries nor how to go about including them in food security planning." 

The past few months have seen some forward momentum on this front as Professor Allison and PhD student, Zach Koehn, worked with FAO staff to provide briefing notes to assist the integration of fisheries into food security policy.  The document was presented to delegates at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization's Committee on Global Food Security when it met in Rome in October and was publicly released this month. 

Furthering the work's impact, Zach led the joint MARINA Lab and FAO team in turning this report into a chapter in a forthcoming book on the Oceans in the Anthropocene, edited by Melissa Poe of NOAA and Phil Levin of University of Washington and The Nature Conservancy. The team looks forward to continuing this trajectory and increasing awareness and action toward integration of food security and fishery policy.

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Hannah Russell returns from fieldwork in Ghana

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Hannah Russell returns from fieldwork in Ghana

Hannah spent fall quarter in Takoradi, Ghana where she worked with NGO Hen Mpoana. Her project aims to examine the potential for nutritional security in coastal communities where there have been decreased landings of the small pelagic stocks the artisinal fleet depend upon. Hannah's fieldwork included surveying female fish processors, sellers, and consumers in fishery-dependent communities and her resulting thesis will include discussion of feminist interviewing techniques and the Gender and Development framework.

To read more about Hannah's time in Ghana, her personal blog can be found at hannahisinghana.blogspot.com

 

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