1) CITES Focuses on Sturgeon/CITES Ocean Winners and Losers
B) NEWS AND VIEWS
2) Trade Banned for Endangered Sawfish
3) Sea Lions Hit by High Levels of Acid Poison in California
4) Fishing 'Destabilises Black Sea'
5) Japanese Whale Request Rejected
6) A Fight About Fish Farms
C) PEW INSTITUTE AND PEW FELLOWS
7) Mee Presents ELME Report: Europe's seas face 'bleak future'
8) Biodiversity Loss in the Ocean: How Bad Is It?
9) Smith and Fujita’s Work Cited in Deep Seas Article
10) Norse Interviewed on National Public Radios Marketplace on CITIES Decisions on Species Protection and Trade
11) Broad And Eckert Present New Report On Caribbean Sea Turtles
D) OPPORTUNITIES AND EVENTS
12) Marine Affairs Research and Education: Ecosystem-Based Management Editor
13) National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration: National Partnership Coordinator
E) GENERAL INFORMATION AND SUBSCRIPTION INSTRUCTIONS
1) CITES FOCUSES ON STURGEON
The global wildlife trade watchdog has agreed to beef up its scrutiny of caviar quotas and make the system more transparent - steps aimed at saving sturgeon from extinction. Conservationists expressed disappointment the trade was not reined in further by the 171-nation Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, CITES, which recently held its triennial meeting to review its lists of regulated plants and animals. "Many scientists had hoped for a stronger set of restrictions on the wild caviar trade, especially for beluga sturgeon, which will not survive the rampant overfishing occurring in the Caspian Sea," said Ellen Pikitch, executive director of the Pew Institute for Ocean Science and lead scientist for Caviar Emptor, a nonprofit campaign to protect and restore wild sturgeons. "The good news is that a system has finally been established that will lift the veil of secrecy off the caviar trade," she said. Caviar, one of the world's most prized delicacies, is the roe or eggs of sturgeon or paddlefish. Beluga caviar can cost upward of 8,250 euros per kilogram ($5,000 a pound) depending on taste and quality. High profits have led to a flourishing black market.
Source: Mike Corder, Forbes, 14 June 2007
RELATED CITES STORY
CITES OCEAN WINNERS AND LOSERS
A list of the (ocean) winners and losers at the two-week meeting of the 171-nation Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in The Hague---edited for marine conservation priorities.
Sawfish: Trade regulated in the shark-like ray with its distinctive tooth-studded snout, which is coveted by collectors.
European eels: Trade regulated in this European delicacy.
Sturgeon: More transparency and scientific scrutiny in the process of granting export quotas for caviar.
Sharks: The spiny dogfish and porbeagle, fished for fast food and gourmet shark fin soup, rejected for CITES protection.
Red coral: Decision to regulate trade in the coral prized by jewelry makers is adopted but later overturned.
Source: International Herald Tribune, 15 June 2007
B) NEWS AND VIEWS
2) TRADE BANNED FOR ENDANGERED SAWFISH
This week a committee at the triennial meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) supported a proposal to ban commercial trade of six species of the seven species of sawfish and to allow the sale of one species that populates Australian waters. Sawfish are overfished because of their highly valued fins, meat, and snouts known as rostra. A final decision on the ban is expected by end of the conference. "We are relieved that international trade pressure will be lifted for these critically endangered species," said Steven Broad, director of TRAFFIC, a group monitoring the trade in wildlife. "Trade, along with fishing pressure, was pushing them towards extinction."
Source: Mike Corder, Associated Press, 11 June 2007
3) SEA LIONS HIT BY HIGH LEVELS OF ACID POISON IN CALIFORNIA
High levels of domoic acid have been poisoning sea lions off the coast of Southern California. Domoic acid, a toxin released by large blooms of algae that causes seizures in sea lions, has killed
hundreds of the animals across Southern California this spring. Levels of the toxin have reached record highs. According to Astrid Schnetzer, a research professor at the Caron Lab for Marine
Environmental Biology at the University of Southern California, in April, the levels in plankton were twice the previous recorded highs.
Source: Monica Almeida, New York Times
Registration is required to read the article.
4) FISHING 'DESTABILISES BLACK SEA'
A long-term study by Georgi Daskalov, from the United Kingdom's Centre for Environment, Fisheries, and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), and colleagues found that because there had been excessive fishing in the Black Sea, the sea's ecosystem had shifted over the past 50 years.
"Ecosystems exist in a dynamic balance of predator and prey," explained Dr. Daskalov. "Changing relationships within the food web, such as removing top predators through fishing, can tip the scales and lead to large-scale changes in ecosystem make-up, scientifically referred to as regime shifts." By reviewing the population trends of the sea's fish and plankton, the scientists identified two major shifts: overfishing before the 1970s effectively removed top predators - including dolphins, mackerel, and bluefin tuna and an invasive comb jellyfish (Mnemiopsis leidyi) was able to thrive in the fish-scarce waters. The resulting adjustment left fish stocks low. Dr. Daskalov warns that the strategy of limiting catches is not enough. "Given the current situation worldwide of largely overfished stocks and degraded environments, management must aim to restore ecosystems into balanced states including reducing human impacts, increasing biodiversity, and improving the quality of the environment.”
Source: BBC News, 5 June 2007
Georgi M. Daskalov, Alexander N. Grishin, Sergei Rodionov, and Vesselina Mihneva. 2007. Trophic Cascades Triggered by Overfishing Reveal Possible Mechanisms of Ecosystem Regime Shifts. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 10.1073/pnas.0701100104
Abstract available at: http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/0701100104v1?
A subscription is required to read the entire study.
5) JAPANESE WHALE REQUEST REJECTED
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) rejected Japan’s motion to review whale stocks. This rejection eliminates the possibility of Japan resuming its legal trade of whale meat. Because the International Whaling Commission (IWC) has had a 21-year moratorium on commercial hunting, Japan saw CITES as another option. They are frustrated because when the moratorium was established, a review of whale stocks was supposed to be completed. To date, it has not. According to Mark Simmonds of the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, it is not a simple matter to assess. "I can assure delegates that the scientific review is indeed comprehensive," he said. "But it's not a simple matter to assess species which spend so much time in the water, sometimes far offshore; and where individuals are often virtually indistinguishable from each other." With these factors in mind, it is unreasonable and unfair to suggest that CITES could produce something more thorough than the IWC scientific advice."
A similar proposal on fin whales by Iceland was also defeated.
Source: Richard Black, BBC News, 6 June 2007
6) A FIGHT ABOUT FISH FARMS
The Bush administration is proposing new legislation that would make it easier to develop industrial-scale aquaculture in ocean waters. The bill would make it easier to farm fish in U.S. marine waters, which generally extend from three to 200 miles offshore. It would streamline the permit process, giving primary responsibility to the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). This legislation is a result of the fact that global fish consumption has doubled in the last 40 years, and most ocean fisheries are fully exploited or overfished. Many environmental groups are worried though. Food & Water Watch, an anti-corporate activist group, worries about harmful chemicals will be used; whereas Alaskan fisherman worry that farmed fish will take away their state’s most important industry.
Source: Marc Gunther, CNN Money, 8 June 2007
C) PEW INSTITUTE AND PEW FELLOWS NEWS
7) MEE PRESENTS ELME REPORT: EUROPE'S SEAS FACE 'BLEAK FUTURE'
A three-year project, European Lifestyles and Marine Ecosystems (ELME), has examined the relationship between human activities and the impact on the region's marine ecosystems. The report's conclusions warn that Europe's seas are in a "serious state of decline" as a result of coastal development, overfishing and pollution from agriculture. Project coordinator, Laurence Mee, a Pew Fellow and director of the Marine Institute at the University of Plymouth, UK, states, "In every sea, we found serious damage related to the accelerated pace of coastal development, transport and the way we produce our food." The study focused on the continent's four regional seas: the North-East Atlantic Ocean, and the Black, Baltic and Mediterranean seas. "In every sea, we found serious damage related to the accelerated pace of coastal development, transport and the way we produce our food," stated Mee.
8) BIODIVERSITY LOSS IN THE OCEAN: HOW BAD IS IT?
Last year, Pew Fellows Carl Folke, Director Stockholm University Centre for Research on Natural Resources and the Environment, Stephen R. Palumbi, Professor of Biological Sciences, Stanford University Hopkins Marine Station, and Enric Sala, Professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, joined Boris Worm, Professor at Dalhousie University and others as co-authors on a research article titled “Impacts of Biodiversity Loss on Ocean Ecosytem Services” which was published in Science. When it appeared, it received significant coverage. This article was recently the subject of commentary in the Letters section of the July 1 edition of the magazine. Steven Murawski, Richard Methot, Galen Tromble, Ray W. Hilborn and other scientists questioned how Worm et al. defined “collapse.” According to their letters, they believe that “the authors should have conducted a calibration of their stock collapse metric with more complete stock abundance data available from the many world wide sources where such data exist.” Ray W. Hilborn, professor at the school of Aquatic and Fisheries Science at the University of Washington, states in the second letter that “the use of their catch data to indicate stock status is misleading.” He contends that Worm et al. should have “demonstrated that their index of collapse corresponded to stock abundance-based indicies.” The third letter, written by John C. Briggs from the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Oregon State University, questions how biodiversity is defined and also the reference to the extinctions of some species. Worm et al. responded to these letters defending their study and explaining each point made by the letters. For example, they write. "The definition of "collapse" we used refers to a loss in catches of 90% below the historic maximum. According to this metric, the Georges Bank haddock stock, or more precisely the ecosystem service it supplied, collapsed from 1970 to 1977 and 1983 to 2003. Using stock assessment data from NMFS, we find that stock biomass similarly collapsed from 1970 to 1977 and from 1982 to 1997."
Source: Etta Kavanagh (Ed.) Biodiversity Loss in the Ocean: How Bad Is It? 2007. Science Vol. 316 no 5829, pp. 1281-1284.
Boris Worm, Edward B. Barbier, Nicola Beaumont, J. Emmett Duffy, Carl Folke, Benjamin S. Halpern et al.. 2007. Impacts of Biodiversity Loss on Ocean Ecosystem Services. Science Vol. 314 no. 5800, pp. 787 – 790.
Abstract available at: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/314/5800/787
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9) SMITH AND FUJITA’S WORK CITED IN DEEP SEAS ARTICLE
Pew Fellows Rodney Fujita, senior scientist at Environmental Defense, and Craig Smith, professor of oceanography at the University of Hawaii, are featured in an article appearing in The Sydney Morning Herald about an area of the deep ocean near Australia that will be opened to the public. The growing understanding that the deep ocean is not a barren world but rather a richly diverse ecosystem has led some scientists to be concerned. The article refers to the May issue of Science, where Fujita and his colleague Jochen Halfar of University of Toronto at Mississauga, write, "Over the past few months, the possibility of mineral exploitation in the deep sea has moved closer to reality with the completion of the first underwater exploration for massive sulphide deposits." They say underwater hot vents have been found that contain gold, copper, zinc, and silver in far higher concentrations than in land deposits. Yet mining could damage their "unique and diverse ecosystems." Regulations to minimize the environmental impact of mining are needed now, say Halfar and Fujita, before it starts. "Large capital investments and generation of revenues by underwater mining
operations are likely to make regulations after onset of commercial operations even more difficult."
Smith is working on a Pew Fellowship project that will help protect a large underwater area of the Pacific from damage from commercial fishing and other activities, including manganese nodule mining. His colleague working on this project, Dr. Tony Koslow from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, was also quoted in this article. He is optimistic about the situation because recently an agreement was signed by nations fishing in the South Pacific that will protect up to 25 percent of the high seas.
Source: The Sydney Morning Herald, 24 May 2007
Jochen Halfar and Rodney M. Fujita. 2007. Danger of Deep-Sea Mining. Science Vol. 316, no.5827, p. 987.
Abstract available at: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/summary/316/5827/987
A subscription is required to read the entire article.
10) NORSE INTERVIEWED ON NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO’S MARKETPLACE ON CITES DECISIONS ON SPECIES PROTECTION AND TRADE
Elliott Norse, Pew Fellow and president of Marine Conservation Biology Institute, was interviewed on National Public Radio’s Marketplace, discussing CITES decisions regarding species protection and trade. When asked about regulating the trade of coral, Norse says it used to be much harder to collect: “Now we have trawlers and sonar that allows us to pinpoint them and rip them off the sea floor and turn them into jewelry-and as a result, they're disappearing.”
Source: Ashley Milne-Tyte, National Public Radio’s Marketplace, 11 June 2007
11) BROAD AND ECKERT PRESENT NEW CITES REPORT ON CARIBBEAN SEA TURTLES
TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, has announced a new report indicating that high levels of exploitation in legal fisheries, and through illegal take and trade, continue to pose a threat to the marine turtles of the Wider Caribbean region. The report was commissioned by the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and released at the CITES Conference of Parties in The Hague. While documenting major advancements in marine turtle research and conservation in recent years, the report finds that legal but largely unmanaged marine turtle exploitation persists in over half of the 26 Wider Caribbean countries and territories surveyed for the report – the Lesser Antilles, Central America, Colombia and Venezuela. TRAFFIC Executive Director and Pew Fellows Advisor Steven Broad said the report documents the movement of turtles from jurisdictions where they are fully protected by law to others elsewhere in the Caribbean where they continue to be exploited in both legal and illegal fisheries. “This illustrates that mechanisms, such as regional management plans, must be developed and implemented to ensure that countries cooperate and coordinate their efforts to manage and conserve such a vital shared resource,” Broad said. Pew Fellow and Executive Director of Director of the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDECAST), Dr Karen L. Eckert, a co-author of the report, said that the report will show some optimism in the many innovative and pioneering efforts to address threats to marine turtles in the region. "This includes the growing contribution and beneficial involvement of rural communities and partnerships between governmental and non-governmental entities. When local people have opportunities to help monitor and safeguard turtles, the investment in turtle conservation is also an investment in people and their future livelihoods," she said.
To read the report, go to:
D) OPPORTUNITIES AND EVENTS
12) MARINE AFFAIRS RESEARCH AND EDUCATION: EDITOR FOR NEW GLOBAL NEWSLETTER ON ECOSYSTEM-BASED MANAGEMENT
DEADLINE: 27 JUNE
LOCATION: SEATTLE, WASHINGTON
Marine Affairs Research and Education (MARE), a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving marine resource managers worldwide, seeks an Editor for a new global newsletter on coastal and marine ecosystem-based management (EBM). The newsletter, produced by MARE in association with the University of Washington School of Marine Affairs, will take an objective view on EBM implementation, aiming to serve the broad international coastal/marine EBM community of resource managers and stakeholders (e.g., government agencies, NGOs, fishing industry, oil/gas sector, academia, and others). The Editor will manage all production aspects of a quarterly newsletter; produce and post additional, value-added content for the project website on a monthly or more frequent basis; capture and report on developments in the EBM field; and advance EBM through promotion of information exchange, including conducting interviews with leading EBM practitioners, policymakers, and researchers and soliciting essays and editorials by experts.
For a full position description, go to:
Qualifications: The candidate must have exceptional and proven skills in writing and news-gathering; strong familiarity with the issue of coastal/marine EBM, including terminology, principles, and techniques; experience in meeting regular deadlines; familiarity with HTML and Adobe InDesign; and foreign-language competency preferred (French and/or Spanish).
To apply, by e-mail or regular mail, submit a resume and three samples of published writing (news reportage preferred) to:
John Davis, President
Marine Affairs Research and Education
20227 NE 163rd St.
Woodinville, WA 98077 USA
13) NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION: NATIONAL PARTNERSHIP COORDINATOR
DEADLINE: 30 JUNE
LOCATION: NARRAGANSETT, RI
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is looking for applicants for their National Partnership Coordinator position. The Coordinator would oversee activities related to a National Partnership between The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and NOAA's Community-based Restoration Program (CRP). The Coordinator will also provide technical support and advice to TNC field staff working on restoration projects, as well as external partners supported through the National Partnership; manage annual Request for Proposals (RFP); and assist with private fundraising activities by assembling information for TNC's Philanthropy and Global Marine Initiative staff.
For a full position description, go to: http://www.nature.org/careers/dynamic/natureorg/20070605200833.html
Qualifications: The candidate must have a graduate degree in marine science, marine affairs, natural resources, environmental studies or a related field. He or she must also have 1-2 years of experience in managing field projects or an equivalent combination of education and experience.
The candidate must also be willing to travel overnight to off-site meetings, nature preserves, or other locations related to management and promotion of National Partnership. Travel will occasionally occur on weekends.
Interested parties should e-mail letters of application and a current resume by 30 June 2007 to: email@example.com
E) GENERAL INFORMATION AND SUBSCRIPTION INSTRUCTIONS
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Source: SeaSpan, from the Pew Institute for Ocean Science