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Exploiting the Southern Ocean: Rational Use or Reversion to Tragedy of the Commons

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Exploiting the Southern Ocean: Rational Use or Reversion to Tragedy of the Commons

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... 28 This debate has seen New Zealand domestic and international environmental non governmental organisations, and a large number of Antarctic marine scientists, call for the placement of a large part of the Ross Sea in a no-take MPA. 29 The substantive discussion of MPAs in the Commission focussed on separate proposals in New Zealand and United States' papers which had been presented to SC-CCAMLR. 30 New Zealand sought Members' views on "appropriate protection targets for different objectives and on appropriate trade-offs between protection and rational use". ...
... In summary, then, exploitation of biotic resources along the continental margin of Antarctica has played a role in humans' progressive exploitation of global marine resources: ever farther away, deeper and more species (see, for example, Pauly and others 2005; Swartz and others 2010), and, with successive depletions, has not been something of which human society can be proud. During the last few decades, efforts have been made to try to recover this reputation in these Antarctic continental waters, though whether continued severe reduction in toothfish stocks can be offered as an example of enlightened management, that is, fishing to 50% of grossly estimated pre-fished spawning biomass (Constable and others 2000), is debatable (Ainley and Brooks 2013). To what degree the affected food webs will respond or can recover from this form of exploitation remains to be seen, despite the fact that the CCAMLR articles require that exploited populations are not so badly affected that they cannot recover in 20-30 years. ...
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The history of biotic exploitation for the continental margin (shelf and slope) of the Antarctic Large Marine Ecosystem (LME) is reviewed, with emphasis on the period from 1970 to 2010. In the Antarctic Peninsula portion, marine mammals were decimated by the 1970s and groundfish by the early 1980s. Fishing for Antarctic krill Euphausia superba began upon the demise of groundfish and now is the only fishing that remains in this region. Surveys show that cetacean and most groundfish stocks remain severely depressed, harvest of which is now prohibited by the International Whaling Commission and the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). On the other hand, krill fishing in this region is underway and in recent years has contributed up to 72% of the Southern Ocean catch, depending on fishing conditions and the CCAMLR conservation measures in force. Elsewhere along the Antarctic continental margin, marine mammals were also severely depleted by the 1970s, followed directly by relatively low-level fisheries for krill that continued until the early 1990s. Recently in these areas, where fin-fishing is still allowed, fisheries for Antarctic toothfish Dissostichus mawsoni have been initiated, with one of this fish's main prey, grenadiers Macrourus spp., being taken significantly as by-catch. Continental margin fishing currently accounts for ~25% of the total toothfish catch of the Southern Ocean. Fishing along the Antarctic continental margin, especially the Antarctic Peninsula region, is a clear case of both the tragedy of the commons and ‘fishing down the food web’.
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Four broad categories of human activities that presently threaten Antarctic wildlife in the Antarctic were identified: (1) tourism and non-governmental activities, (2) scientific research, (3) commercial fisheries and (4) whaling. Two further broad categories of threats that originate from multiple forms of human activities are: (1) shipping-related impacts and (2) the introduction of non-native species or disease-causing agents. These threats are not mutually exclusive, and there are various interactions and synergies present amongst them. We have not incorporated climate change into the assessment of each of these, but briefly assess the hierarchical contribution of climate change to other threats. We confidently expect an expansion of virtually all anthropogenic activities in the Antarctic (primarily tourism, research and fisheries) in the next 50 years. The threats will also increase in their complex synergies and interactions, giving further increasing urgency to adopting a more precautionary approach to managing human activities in the Antarctic. We present predictions for 2060 and list suggested proactive management and conservation strategies to address the predicted threats to Antarctic wildlife and their environment.
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A quantitative food web of the Ross Sea is presented here as a step towards investigating ecosystem effects of the fishery for Antarctic toothfish (Dissostichus mawsoni). The model consolidates quantitative information on trophic links across all the major biota of the Ross Sea and tests for data consistency. The model has 38 trophic groups and is balanced in terms of annual fows of organic carbon in an average recent year (1990-2000). The focus of the model is on the role of Antarctic toothfish in the food web which means that the model has greater taxonomic resolution towards the top of the food web than the base. A survey of the available literature and both published and unpublished data provided an initial set of parameters describing the annual average abundance, imports, exports, energetics (growth, reproduction, consumption) and trophic linkages (diets, key predators) for each model group. The relative level of uncertainty on these parameters was also estimated. This set of parameters was not self consistent, and a method is described to adjust the initial parameter set to give a balanced model, taking into account the estimates of parameter uncertainty and the large range of magnitude (>6 orders of magnitude) in trophic fows between groups. Parameters for biomass, production rate, growth efficiency, diet fractions and other transfers of biomass between groups were adjusted simultaneously. It was found that changes to the initial set of parameters needed to obtain balance were reasonably small for most groups and most parameters. The mean absolute change for all key parameters (biomass, production rate, growth efficiency) and all groups together was 1.7%, and for diet fractions was 0.6%. Large but not implausible changes in biomass, production/biomass and production/consumption parameters were needed to balance the microzooplankton (34-47%), ice bacteria (61-72%), and ice protozoa (24-54%), components of the model. Trophic levels are in close agreement with those derived from isotope and other ecosystems. In the balanced model, there is only enough large (>100 cm) toothfish production to satisfy 6.5% of the diet of Weddell seals, 5.6% of the diet of orca and 2.6% of the diet of sperm whales. The model does not support the hypothesis that depletion of Antarctic toothfish by fishing would change the diet of predators of toothfish (Weddell seals, orca, sperm whales) by large amounts throughout the Ross Sea, though the importance of toothfish as prey items to these predators is not tested and requires further investigation. The model shows that large toothfish consume 61% of the annual production of medium-sized demersal fishes and 14% of the annual production of small demersal fishes, implying a potential for the fishery to affect these prey through trophic cascades. There is a need to establish monitoring of medium and small demersal fishes in the Ross Sea, and to model potential changes to these groups due to the fishery.
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Miller, D. 2000. Managing fisheries to conserve the Antarctic marine ecosystem: practical implemen-tation of the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). – ICES Journal of Marine Science, 57: 778–791. We aim to identify the important steps in the evolution of the ecosystem approach to management under the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). The first section provides the background to CCAMLR, including the formulation of the convention and its objectives, its operation, and the historical trends in fisheries. Later sections describe (i) the reasons why a precautionary approach to setting catch limits evolved, (ii) how the precautionary approach takes account of ecosystem objectives and provides for the orderly development of new fisheries, and (iii) how the use of ecosystem indicators in the setting of catch limits and for monitoring the effects of fishing is being evaluated. The final section describes the general framework being used to develop a feedback-management system that incorporates objectives, target species assessments and ecosystem assessments. The CCAMLR experience provides two important lessons. First, conservation objectives can only be achieved by implementing management measures, even when very little is known. Second, methods were found for achieving scientific consensus despite the uncertainties surrounding estimates of parameters and the behaviour of the system. CCAMLR is yet to face the real test in its ecosystem approach, the development of the krill fishery. Before this occurs, appropriate management procedures have to be developed to avoid localized effects on the ecosystem and to provide effective feedbacks on the effects of fishing through its monitoring programme. 2000 International Council for the Exploration of the Sea Key words: ecosystem management, icefish, krill, management strategies, precaution-ary approach, toothfish.
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We have identified the marine fish taxa that are most vulnerable to exploitation, by compiling an index of intrinsic vulnerability based on life his- tory traits. Since 1950, the global fish catch has been increasingly dominated by species with low intrinsic vulnerability, indicated by a decline in mean vulner- ability of the taxa in the catches. This decline is strongest in catches of coral reef fishes, probably as a result of overexploitation of the more vulnerable species. The change is less apparent in estuaries, where fish communities are more transient. The opposite is observed at seamounts, where more vul- nerable species have become exploited and serially depleted in recent years. Rates of change in the mean vulnerability index in the catches from differ- ent areas are negatively correlated with the number of threatened fishes on the IUCN Red List. Particu- larly, catches from the Indo-Pacific and Caribbean regions are characterized by a high abundance of threatened fishes and by strong declines in the mean vulnerability index. Our findings suggest that fishing largely alters the community structure of coral reef fishes, which may detrimentally affect the ecosystem. Attention should also be given to deep water dem- ersal and benthopelagic fish assemblages, especially those around seamounts, which are intrinsically vul- nerable to fishing. The index of intrinsic vulnerability thus provides a novel tool for fisheries management and conservation.
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The marine resources of the Antarctic region are of global significance. In managing Southern Ocean marine resources, especially fisheries, the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) has adopted principles that aim: to balance harvesting and conservation; to protect the needs of dependent species, and to avoid changes that are irreversible in 20–30 years. CCAMLR has pioneered ecosystem approaches to fishery and environmental management, through the incorporation of precaution and uncertainty into its management procedures and by establishing an ecosystem monitoring programme using indicator species and processes. This pioneering application of precautionary and ecosystem approaches in the management of harvesting has met with some success, notably in applying conservative yield models for toothfish and krill stocks and in establishing strict rules for undertaking new and exploratory fisheries. However, toothfish management has been recently compromised by Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing which is driven by forces outside the Southern Ocean. Southern Ocean harvestable resources are also subject to other global forces such as environmental changes, and their management systems remain very vulnerable to rapid shifts in worldwide fishery economics, and to inadequate management in adjacent areas, particularly high seas. CCAMLR needs quickly to develop the basis of more flexible and effective management to cater for rapid shifts in capacity and demand. The complementary task, however, is to raise the management standard of other Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs) to those of CCAMLR if global high seas marine resources are to be sustainable for the rest of this century.
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Halpern et al. (Reports, 15 February 2008, p. 948) integrated spatial data on 17 drivers of change in the oceans to map the global distribution of human impact. Although fishery catches are a dominant driver, the data reflect activity while impacts occur at different space and time scales. Failure to account for this spatial disconnection could lead to potentially misleading conclusions. A s spatial planning and legislation, which has long been applied to human activity on land, extends out into the marine environment, the need for a synthesis of the human impacts on the seas and oceans becomes ever more urgent. Thus, the initiative reported by Halpern et al. (1) is extremely timely and welcome. However, the task is a formidable one, and the results highlight some of the chal-lenges that still need to be overcome. Halpern et al. (1) estimated impacts on the oceans from a range of human activities, in-cluding various methods of fishing that are among the most important factors affecting the ecological state of many large marine ecosys-tems (2, 3). Spatial disaggregations (½° latitude by ½° longitude) of 1999 to 2003 regional land-ings data from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) (4) were used as measures of fishing activity. Spatial
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Rapid declines threaten the persistence of many marine fish. Data from more than 230 populations reveal a median reduction of 83% in breeding population size from known historic levels. Few populations recover rapidly; most exhibit little or no change in abundance up to 15 years after a collapse. Reductions in fishing pressure, although clearly necessary for population recovery, are often insufficient. Persistence and recovery are also influenced by life history, habitat alteration, changes to species assemblages, genetic responses to exploitation, and reductions in population growth attributable to the Allee effect, also known as depensation. Heightened extinction risks were highlighted recently when a Canadian population of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) was listed as endangered, on the basis of declines as high as 99.9% over 30 years. Unprecedented reductions in abundance and surprisingly low rates of recovery draw attention to scientists' limited understanding of how fish behavior, habitat, ecology, and evolution affect population growth at low abundance. Failure to prevent population collapses, and to take the conservation biology of marine fishes seriously, will ensure that many severely depleted species remain ecological and numerical shadows in the ecosystems that they once dominated.
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Contact ABSTRACT Recent analyses of anthropogenic impacts to marine systems have shown the Ross Sea to be the least affected stretch of ocean on Earth, although historical effects were not included in the study. Herein the literature is reviewed to quantify the extent of extraction of biological resources from the Ross Sea continental shelf and slope beginning at the start of the 20 th century; none preceded that. An intense extraction of Weddell seals Leptonychotes weddellii by the heroic expeditions and then by New Zealand to feed sled dogs in the 1950-80s caused the McMurdo Sound population to permanently decrease; otherwise no other sealing occurred. Blue whales Balaenoptera musculus intermedia were extirpated from waters of the Shelf Break Front during the 1920s, and have not reappeared. Minke whales B. bonaerensis likely expanded into their vacated habitat, but were then hunted during the 1970-80s; their population has since recovered. Some minke whales are now taken in "scientific whaling", twice more from the slope compared to the shelf. Other hunted cetaceans never occurred over the shelf and very few ever occurred in slope waters, and therefore their demise from whaling does not apply to the Ross Sea. No industrial fishing occurred in the Ross Sea until the 1996-97 austral summer, when a fishery for Antarctic toothfish Dissostichus mawsoni was initiated, especially along the slope. This fishery has grown since then with effects on the ecosystem recently becoming evident. There is probably no other ocean area where the details of biological exploitation can be so elucidated. It does appear that the Ross Sea continental shelf remains the least affected of any on the globe; the same can not be said of the slope.
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Using estimates of the primary production required (PPR) to support fisheries catches (a measure of the footprint of fishing), we analyzed the geographical expansion of the global marine fisheries from 1950 to 2005. We used multiple threshold levels of PPR as percentage of local primary production to define 'fisheries exploitation' and applied them to the global dataset of spatially-explicit marine fisheries catches. This approach enabled us to assign exploitation status across a 0.5° latitude/longitude ocean grid system and trace the change in their status over the 56-year time period. This result highlights the global scale expansion in marine fisheries, from the coastal waters off North Atlantic and West Pacific to the waters in the Southern Hemisphere and into the high seas. The southward expansion of fisheries occurred at a rate of almost one degree latitude per year, with the greatest period of expansion occurring in the 1980s and early 1990s. By the mid 1990s, a third of the world's ocean, and two-thirds of continental shelves, were exploited at a level where PPR of fisheries exceed 10% of PP, leaving only unproductive waters of high seas, and relatively inaccessible waters in the Arctic and Antarctic as the last remaining 'frontiers.' The growth in marine fisheries catches for more than half a century was only made possible through exploitation of new fishing grounds. Their rapidly diminishing number indicates a global limit to growth and highlights the urgent need for a transition to sustainable fishing through reduction of PPR.
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Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing is a problem for marine resource managers, leading to depletion of fish stocks and negative impacts on marine ecosystems. These problems are particularly evident in regions with weak governance. Countries responsible for sustainable natural resource management in the Southern Ocean have actively worked to reduce IUU fishing in the region over a period of 15 years, leading to a sequence of three distinct peaks of IUU fishing. We reviewed existing public records relating to IUU fishing in the Southern Ocean between 1995-2009 and related this information to the governance capacity of flag states responsible for IUU vessels. IUU operators used a number of methods to adapt to enforcement actions, resulting in reduced risks of detection, apprehension and sanctioning. They changed fishing locations, vessel names and flag states, and ports for offloading IUU catches. There was a significant decrease in the proportion of IUU vessels flagged to CCAMLR countries, and a significant decrease in the average governance index of flag states. Despite a decreasing trend of IUU fishing, further actions are hampered by the regional scope of CCAMLR and the governance capacity of responsible states. This is the first study of long-term change in the modus operandi of IUU fishing operators, illustrating that IUU operators can adapt to enforcement actions and that such dynamics may lead to new problems elsewhere, where countries have a limited capacity. This outsourcing of problems may have similarities to natural resource extraction in other sectors and in other regions. IUU fishing is the result of a number of factors, and effectively addressing this major challenge to sustainable marine resource extraction will likely require a stronger focus on governance. Highly mobile resource extractors with substantial funds are able to adapt to changing regulations by exploiting countries and regions with limited capacity.
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Integrated ecosystem assessments challenge the broader scientific community to move beyond the important task of tallying insults to marine ecosystems to developing quantitative tools that can support the decisions national and regional resource managers must make.
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The management and conservation of the world's oceans require synthesis of spatial data on the distribution and intensity of human activities and the overlap of their impacts on marine ecosystems. We developed an ecosystem-specific, multiscale spatial model to synthesize 17 global data sets of anthropogenic drivers of ecological change for 20 marine ecosystems. Our analysis indicates that no area is unaffected by human influence and that a large fraction (41%) is strongly affected by multiple drivers. However, large areas of relatively little human impact remain, particularly near the poles. The analytical process and resulting maps provide flexible tools for regional and global efforts to allocate conservation resources; to implement ecosystem-based management; and to inform marine spatial planning, education, and basic research.
Book
After thirty-five years the regime based on the Antarctic Treaty is more vigorous than ever. Here leading scholars of international law and international relations examine the effectiveness and legitimacy of this regime by asking two questions: are current changes affecting the regime's ability to cope with major problems in the region, and how do those changes affect its standing amongst parties to the Treaty and in the wider international community? Individual chapters deal with the Antarctic regimes for marine living resources, mineral activities, environmental protection, and tourism. Throughout, a keen eye is kept on how those components interact and reinforce each other. This analysis is supported by in-depth studies of compatibility and tension between the Antarctic Treaty System and the international community at large. It also draws upon case studies of how domestic concerns and decision-making in four selected countries affect international co-operation in the Antarctic.
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The Ross Sea is a well-defined embayment of Antarctica about the size of southern Europe, bounded by Victoria Land to the west, King Edward VII Peninsula, Marie Byrd Land to the east, the Ross Ice Shelf to the south, and the Pacific Sector of the Southern Ocean to the north. Its waters are composed of two related biotic systems: the Ross Sea Shelf Ecosystem (RSShelfE) and the Ross Sea Slope Ecosystem (RSSlopeE). The Ross Sea is off limits to mineral extraction, but pressures on its biological resources are growing. The economic value of the resources should be weighed against the value of the system as a unique scientific resource. The Ross Sea represents an unparalleled natural laboratory in which the results of different fishery management strategies could be modeled in the context of short-term and decadal variation in biological population, with these models applied throughout the Southern Ocean and elsewhere. The RSShelfE is the last Large Marine Ecosystem on Earth (except the Weddell Sea and, perhaps, Hudson Bay in the north of Canada) that has escaped direct anthropogenic alteration; the RSSlopeE, similar to all of Earth's other marine ecosystems, has lost its large baleen whales but otherwise is intact. A huge multidisciplinary, international scientific effort has been invested in studies of the geology, physics and biology of the Ross Sea over the past 45 years. In particular the activities of the United States, New Zealand and Italian Antarctic programmes have been models of international scientific cooperation and collaboration. The successful result is an incredible wealth of knowledge, including long-term biological data sets, not available anywhere else in the Antarctic, which have documented clear signals of climate forcing, as well as top-down influences not confused by human exploitation or activity. Ironically, much remains unknown about how these ecosystems function.
Article
Aspects of the reproduction, size distribution and movements of Antarctic toothfish (Dissostichus mawsoni) in the Ross Sea region are reviewed. Based on the presumed location and timing of spawning and the probable early life-history characteristics of toothfish, the drift of eggs and larvae over a 6-24 month period were investigated using an oceanic circulation model linked to the high-resolution global environmental model (HiGEM). Model outputs indicated that the locations of toothfish larvae after an 18-24 month period were moderately consistent with the distribution of the smallest toothfish taken in the toothfish fishery. The hypothesis presented is that D. mawsoni in CCAMLR Subareas 88.1 and 88.2 spawn mainly on the ridges and banks of the Pacific-Antarctic ridge to the north and east of the Ross Sea. The spawning appears to take place during the austral winter and spring. Depending on the exact location of spawning, eggs and larvae become entrained by the Ross Sea gyres, and may move west, settling out around the Balleny Islands and adjacent Antarctic continental shelf; south onto the Ross Sea shelf; or eastwards with the eastern Ross Sea gyre, settling out along the continental slope and shelf to the east of the Ross Sea in Subarea 88.2. As the juveniles grow in size, they move west back towards the Ross Sea shelf and then move out into deeper water. As they mature, the fish gradually move deeper out onto the continental slope where they gain condition before undergoing a northwards spawning migration to the Pacific-Antarctic Ridge to start the cycle again. Toothfish probably remain in the northern area for 6-18 months before migrating back to the slope to regain condition.
Article
Longhurst examines the proposition, central to fisheries science, that a fishery creates its own natural resource by the compensatory growth it induces in the fish, and that this is sustainable. His novel analysis of the reproductive ecology of bony fish of cooler seas offers some support for this, but a review of fisheries past and present confirms that sustainability is rarely achieved. The relatively open structure and strong variability of marine ecosystems is discussed in relation to the reliability of resources used by the industrial-level fishing that became globalised during the 20th century. This was associated with an extraordinary lack of regulation in most seas, and a widespread avoidance of regulation where it did exist. Sustained fisheries can only be expected where social conditions permit strict regulation and where politicians have no personal interest in outcomes despite current enthusiasm for ecosystem-based approaches or for transferable property rights.
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Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Natural Resource Management examines how traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) is taught and practiced today among Native communities. Of special interest is the complex relationship between indigenous ecological practices and other ways of interacting with the environment, particularly regional and national programs of natural resource management. Focusing primarily on the northwest coast of North America, scholars look at the challenges and opportunities confronting the local practice of indigenous ecological knowledge in a range of communities, including the Tsimshian, the Nisga'a, the Tlingit, the Gitksan, the Kwagult, the Sto:lo, and the northern Dene in the Yukon. The experts consider how traditional knowledge is taught and learned and address the cultural importance of different subsistence practices using natural elements such as seaweed (Gitga'a), pine mushrooms (Tsimshian), and salmon (Tlingit). Several contributors discuss the extent to which national and regional programs of resource management need to include models of TEK in their planning and execution. This volume highlights the different ways of seeing and engaging with the natural world and underscores the need to acknowledge and honor the ways that indigenous peoples have done so for generations. © 2006 by the Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska. All rights reserved.
Article
Preface Part I. The Ecology of Antarctic Fish: 1. Introduction 2. The evolution of the fish fauna of the Southern Ocean 3. The composition of the fish fauna 4. Classification of the Notothenioidei 5. Geographical and bathymetric distribution of the fish fauna 6. Adaptations to the environment 7. Reproduction and early life history 8. Age, growth, mortality and biomass estimates 9. The significance of fish in the ecosystem 10. Parasites 11. Future research Part II. Antarctic Fisheries: 12. The commercially exploited species 13. The development of the fishery 14. Trends in the fishery 15. Fishing grounds and fishing conditions 16. Fish detection and catching methods 17. Fishery products 18. The development of fish stock assessment and fisheries management in the Southern Ocean 19. The effect of fishing on single stocks 20. Detrimental effect of krill fishing on recruitment 21. Effects of fishing and fishery-related activities on other components of the marine ecosystems of the Southern Ocean 22. Approaches to a more effective fisheries management in the Southern Ocean 23. Perspectives for a future fish harvest from the Southern Ocean.
Book
Sacred Ecology examines bodies of knowledge held by indigenous and other rural peoples around the world, and asks how we can learn from this knowledge and ways of knowing. Berkes explores the importance of local and indigenous knowledge as a complement to scientific ecology, and its cultural and political significance for indigenous groups themselves. This second edition is expanded and updated throughout, and places greater emphasis on "knowledge as process". It has two new chapters, Chapter 8 on climate change, demonstrating how indigenous communities "read" environmental signals, and Chapter 9 on how indigenous knowledge deals with complexity.
Article
We examine a database of over 700 spawner-recruitment series to search for parameters that are constant, or nearly so, at the level of a species or above. We find that the number of spawners produced per spawner each year at low populations, i.e., the maximum annual reproductive rate, is relatively constant within species and that there is relatively little variation among species. This quantity can be interpreted as a standardized slope at the origin of a spawner-recruitment function. We employ variance components models that assume that the log of the standardized slope at the origin is a normal random variable. This approach allows improved estimates of spawner-recruitment parameters, estimation of empirical prior distributions for Bayesian analysis, estimation of the biological limits of fishing, calculation of the maximum sustainable yield, and impact assessment of dams and pollution. Résumé : Nous étudions une base de données comptant plus de 700 séries géniteur-recrutement à la recherche de paramètres qui sont constants, ou presque, au niveau de l'espèce ou à un niveau hiérarchique supérieur. Nous avons trouvé que le nombre de géniteurs produits par géniteur chaque année dans des populations peu abondantes, c'est-à- dire le taux de reproduction annuel maximal, est relativement constant dans une espèce, et qu'il y a peu de variation d'une espèce à l'autre. Cette valeur peut être interprétée comme une pente normalisée à l'origine d'une fonction
Article
Ages of orange roughy (Hoplostethus atlanticus) determined by two methods (counting annuli on the surface of whole and in longitudinally sectioned otoliths) were similar up to maturity. Beyond maturity, age estimates from sectioned otoliths exceeded those from whole otoliths. Maximum recorded age was 125 years for an individual 41 cm standard length (SL), and age at maturity was estimated to be 25 years (30–32 cm SL). These are consistent with ages estimated previously by radiometric methods. Results demonstrated a two-stage linear relationship between otolith weight and age that confirmed the two-stage otolith mass growth model previously used in radiometric ageing. However, in the radiometric analyses the reduction in otolith growth was arbitrarily estimated at 45% of the immature rate whereas annuli data demonstrated a reduction after maturity to 62% of the immature rate. The new estimates of otolith mass growth rate were incorporated into the radiometric data and ages recalculated, which reduced age estimates for 38–40 cm SL fish from 77–149 to 59–101 years. The radiometric data were also recalculated using only the percentage reduction in otolith growth after maturity, giving the radiometric age of 125 ± 9 years for the oldest fish.
Article
Global landings of demersal marine fishes are demonstrated to have shifted to deeper water species over the last 50 years. Our analysis suggests deep-water fish stocks may be at serious risk of depletion, as their life histories render them highly vulnerable to overfishing with little resilience to over-exploitation. Deep-sea fisheries are exploiting the last refuges for commercial fish species and should not be seen as a replacement for declining resources in shallower waters. Instead, deep-water habitats are new candidates for conservation.
Article
A major mid-1980s shift in ecological structure of significant portions of the Southern Ocean was partially due to the serial depletion of fish by intensive industrial fishing, rather than solely to climate factors as previously hypothesized. Over a brief period (1969–1973), several finfish stocks were on average reduced to <50%, and finally (mid-1980s) to <20%, of original size. Despite management actions, few stocks have recovered and some are still declining. Most affected species exhibit K-selected life-history patterns, and before exploitation presumably fluctuated in accordance with infrequent strong year classes, as is true of such fish elsewhere. A climate regime, the Southern Annular Mode, once oscillated between two states, but has remained in its ‘positive mode’ since the time of the fish extraction. This may have increased finfish vulnerability to exploitation. As breeding stocks decreased, we hypothesize that availability of annually produced juvenile fish fed upon by upper-level predators remained low. Correlations between predator populations and fish biomass in predator foraging areas indicate that southern elephant seal Mirounga leonina, Antarctic fur seal Arctocephalus gazella, gentoo penguin Pygoscelis papua, macaroni penguin Eudyptes chrysolphus and ‘imperial’ shag Phalacrocorax spp. – all feeding extensively on these fish, and monitored at Marion, Crozet, Kerguelen, Heard, South Georgia, South Orkney and South Shetland Islands, where fishing was concentrated – declined simultaneously during the two periods of heavy fishing. These patterns indicate the past importance of demersal fish as prey in Antarctic marine systems, but determining these interactions’ ecological mechanisms may now be impossible.
Article
Please note: This article was downloaded from Frontierse-View, a service that publishes fully edited and formatted manuscripts before they appear in print in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. Readers are strongly advised to check the final print version in case any changes have been made. Copyright by the Ecological Society of America. Marine and terrestrial ecologists rarely exchange information, yet comparing research from both sides of the land–sea boundary holds great potential for improving our understanding of ecological processes. For example, by comparing the interaction between tiger sharks (Galeocerdo cuvier) and dugongs (Dugong dugon) to that between gray wolves (Canis lupus) and elk (Cervus elaphus), we show that top predators in marine and terrestrial ecosystems trigger three similar types of anti-predator behavior: (1) encounter avoidance, (2) escape facilitation, and (3) increased vigilance. By implication, the ecological roles of top predators in both ecosystems may be more similar than previously thought, and studies that fail to account for multiple modes of antipredator behavior are likely to underestimate these roles and the consequences of eliminating predators from ecosystems. We encourage more communication between marine and terrestrial ecologists, in the interest of generating further insights into ecosystem dynamics and conservation.
Article
From 2009 (English) and 2008 (French and Spanish): Online document
Article
"Technology is not the answer to the population problem. Rather, what is needed is 'mutual coercion mutually agreed upon'--everyone voluntarily giving up the freedom to breed without limit. If we all have an equal right to many 'commons' provided by nature and by the activities of modern governments, then by breeding freely we behave as do herders sharing a common pasture. Each herder acts rationally by adding yet one more beast to his/her herd, because each gains all the profit from that addition, while bearing only a fraction of its costs in overgrazing, which are shared by all the users. The logic of the system compels all herders to increase their herds without limit, with the 'tragic,' i.e. 'inevitable,' 'inescapable' result: ruin the commons. Appealing to individual conscience to exercise restraint in the use of social-welfare or natural commons is likewise self-defeating: the conscientious will restrict use (reproduction), the heedless will continue using (reproducing), and gradually but inevitably the selfish will out-compete the responsible. Temperance can be best accomplished through administrative law, and a 'great challenge...is to invent the corrective feedbacks..to keep custodians honest.'"
Article
Three archaeological sites at Katanda on the Upper Semliki River in the Western Rift Valley of Zaire have provided evidence for a well-developed bone industry in a Middle Stone Age context. Artifacts include both barbed and unbarbed points as well as a daggerlike object. Dating by both direct and indirect means indicate an age of approximately 90,000 years or older. Together with abundant fish (primarily catfish) remains, the bone technology indicates that a complex subsistence specialization had developed in Africa by this time. The level of behavioral competence required is consistent with that of upper Paleolithic Homo sapiens sapiens. These data support an African origin of behaviorally as well as biologically modern humans.
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