After nonnative fish farming ban, Cooke Aquaculture plans a shift in Puget Sound
Salmon swim above the Grand Coulee Dam for first time in 80 years
OCTO and its services (The Skimmer, EBM Tools Network, OpenChannels.org, MPA News, and more) are currently scheduling their 2020 webinar series. If there any topics you would like to see covered or presenters that you would like to hear from, please let us know at skimmer [at] octogroup.org!
Examples of topics we have covered in the past year (recordings available) include:
- New opportunities for reducing coastal risk with natural defenses
- Financing coral reef conservation and management with tourism-related tools
- Conservation targets and how much of the world do we need to protect?
- A toolkit for managing cultural resources in marine protected areas
- The impact of human-caused ocean noise pollution on fish, invertebrates, and ecosystem services
- Managing the ocean in real-time: Tools for dynamic management
- Unmanned systems (UxS): Transforming how we study and manage the marine environment
- Not all those who wander are lost – Fishers communities’ responses to shifts in the distribution and abundance of fish resources
Editor’s note: In 2016, roughly one-third of the total value of the world’s trade of fish and fish products was invertebrates. (They were approximately one-fifth of the global fish trade by live weight.) To learn more about the state and future of invertebrate fisheries management, The Skimmer interviewed Heike Lotze, a professor in the Department of Biology at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada. In this interview, we discuss several of her papers published over the past decade on the recent expansion, ecosystem effects, and management of invertebrate fisheries, including a recent synthesis “Ecosystem effects of invertebrate fisheries” published in Fish and Fisheries in 2017.
The Skimmer: As global catch of invertebrates increases, what impacts are invertebrate fisheries having on marine ecosystems?
Lotze: Invertebrate catches have increased more than six-fold globally since the 1950s. Catches include all major species groups – from lobster, shrimp, and crabs (crustaceans) to octopus, cuttlefish and squid (cephalopods) to mussels and snails (mollusks) to sea urchins and sea cucumbers (echinoderms). In many countries, invertebrates are some of the most lucrative commercial fisheries and provide coastal communities with valuable livelihoods and associated benefits. The global increase in catches has been accompanied by the spatial expansion of invertebrate fisheries: many more countries are engaging in fishing invertebrates, and many more areas within countries are now fishing invertebrates. For example, sea urchin and sea cucumber are now fished around the globe, and fishing for invertebrates has expanded from shallow to deeper waters to maintain or enhance catch levels. Fisheries have further shifted from large- to smaller-sized individuals and from high- to lesser-valued species, usually in response to declining catches and following a ‘fishing down the value-chain’ pattern.
Many people may think it is ‘just’ invertebrates, but these species play important ecological roles in marine ecosystems. These roles are often more diverse than the roles that fish play, consequently the impacts of invertebrate fisheries on other species and marine ecosystems are more varied than those of finfish fisheries. For example:
- Many invertebrates are important prey for higher trophic level species, such as fish, whales, turtles, and seabirds, and reducing invertebrate abundance can have ripple effects through marine food webs, comparable to those of forage fish;
- Many mussels, oysters, and sponges enhance biodiversity by creating three-dimensional structures that are important habitat for other species – for settlement, finding food, finding shelter, breeding, and nursery grounds;
- Many invertebrates filter feed which improves water quality and clarity and provides benefits to other organisms, including humans;
- Herbivore grazers, such as many urchins and gastropods, act as lawn mowers keeping algal carpets in check; and
- Detritivore sea stars and sea cucumbers clean up ocean floors as the scavengers of the sea.
- New IPCC Oceans and Cryosphere special report paints dire picture of ocean health
- Experts describe best options for using oceans to mitigate climate change
- UN International Seabed Authority continuing discussions on regulations for deep-seabed mining; environmental organization seeks mining moratorium until deep sea better understood
- Scientists assess what is needed for restoring deep sea ecosystems
- Study provides new framework for understanding blue carbon ecosystem dynamics
- Marine heatwave in eastern North Pacific weakening
- New report describes best policies for reducing ocean plastic pollution
- Publication describes ways microplastics research needs to improve
- New online tool will provide easy access to migratory patterns of oceanic endangered species
- Oceanscape portal maps ocean organizations and their connections
- Input requested on information needs for coral reef management
Coverage of social media usually focuses on how social media platforms (e.g., Twitter, Facebook) can be used to communicate with and educate stakeholders and the general public. But social media also provides publicly available information on how people are using and feeling about the marine environment. Learn how social media and other digital data are being used for marine conservation and management.
Date/time: Thursday, October 31 at 10am PT/ 1pm ET
Presenter: Helen E. Fox, Ph.D. Senior Director, National Geographic Society
Project Co-Authors: C.M. Roelfsema, B. Bambic, R. Borrego-Acevedo, B. Free, P. Gerstner, E. Kennedy, E. Kovacs, K. Markey, K. Rice, G. Asner, S.R. Phinn, C. Whiton, A. Zolli
Join us on Wednesday, November 13 at 9:00 am EST/2:00 pm GMT for a webinar featuring Dr. Mark Bravington of Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), where he will discuss his work to improve the information used to assess and manage shortfin mako sharks in the Atlantic Ocean.
For the past several months, Dr. Bravington has been examining the feasibility of a genetic method known as close-kin mark-recapture for estimating shortfin mako shark abundance in a way that avoids the limitations and biases associated with estimates collected through fishing activities. Such a tool could help fisheries scientists develop more accurate stock assessments to inform effective management strategies for this species, which is overfished in the North Atlantic.