Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search


Fisheries Conservation Risk Top In Canada, Mexico, Peru, NZ

Fisheries Conservation Risk Highest In Canada, Mexico, Peru and New Zealand: UBC at AAAS

February 20, 2012

UBC researchers have identified conservation “hot spots” around the world where the temptation to profit from overfishing outweighs the appetite for conservation.

Combining economic outlook and fisheries population growth rates for all countries currently reported to fish in the ocean, UBC fisheries researchers William Cheung and Rashid Sumaila developed a conservation risk index to reveal the economic-conservation trade-offs of fishing.

Areas with the highest risk index – those most biologically and economically vulnerable to overfishing – include the northeastern coast of Canada, the Pacific coast of Mexico, the Peruvian coast, the south Pacific (offshore of New Zealand in particular), the southern and southeastern coast of Africa, and the Antarctic region.

“This index is a guide for determining the appropriate conservation and fisheries management policy for each region,” says Cheung, an assistant professor in UBC’s Fisheries Centre, who presented his research during a press briefing at the Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Vancouver, Canada.

“The most vulnerable areas may need to be protected with special management approaches – such as marine protected areas, while others may benefit from economic incentive instruments to better manage the ecosystems – such as territorial use rights in fisheries, or TURFs,” says Sumaila, professor and director of the UBC Fisheries Centre.

The index can also help conservation managers use scarce resources in a targeted, efficient and effective way to ensure the conservation of sustainable use of seafood and marine ecosystems, Sumaila adds.

“Fishing has a major impact on marine biodiversity, causing the depletion of many species,” says Cheung, who grew up in Hong Kong and focused his earlier research on fisheries in the South China Sea – one of the most over-exploited areas in the world’s oceans. “I witnessed how overfishing can damage marine ecosystems and the goods and services they provide – but in order to solve the problem, we need an understanding of both biology and economics. Biology determines whether a stock is more vulnerable to fishing, while economics determines how strong the incentive is to overfish the stock now.“

The conservation risk index is based on the discount rates of fishers and the intrinsic population growth rates of the fish being targeted. The discount rate is a measure of how much a dollar of fish to be received in the future is worth today – similar to the long-term lending interest rate of central banks. The intrinsic population growth rate is the difference between the birth and death rate of a fish stock.

Cheung and Sumaila used published discount rates data for all countries that are reported to fish in the ocean, and intrinsic growth rate data for major exploited fish species to calculate the conservation risk index for each half degree square area of the world’s oceans (2,500 square-kilometres, roughly the size of Metro Vancouver or three times the size of New York City). The higher the conservation risk index, the more vulnerable the area is.


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Oceans: NOAA Declares Third Ever Global Coral Bleaching Event

As record ocean temperatures cause widespread coral bleaching across Hawaii, NOAA scientists confirm the same stressful conditions are expanding to the Caribbean and may last into the new year, prompting the declaration of the third global coral bleaching event ever on record. More>>

Scoop Business: A Decade Of Government Pre-Seed Investment

More publicly-funded science is being commercialised after a decade of government ‘pre-see’d investment, according to an independent review. More>>


Solid Energy: Plan To Shut Unprofitable Huntly East Mine

Solid Energy, the state-owned coal miner in voluntary administration, plans to shut down its unprofitable Huntly East mine and lay off 65 staff after deciding the site stands "no chance whatsoever" of finding a buyer. More>>


E Tū: Merger Creates NZ's Biggest Private Sector Union

E tū has been created by the merger of the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union and Service and Food Workers’ Union. It represents more than 50,000 working New Zealanders in industries as diverse as aviation, construction, journalism, food manufacturing, mining and cleaning. More>>


Internet: NZ Govt Lifts Target Speeds For Rural Broadband

The government has lifted its expectations on faster broadband speeds for rural New Zealand as it targets increased spending on research and development in the country's information and communications technology sector, which it sees as a key driver for export growth. More>>


Banks: Westpac Keeps Core Government Transactions Contract

The local arm of Westpac Banking Corp has kept its contract with the New Zealand government to provide core transactions, but will have to share peripheral services with its rivals. More>>


Science Investment Plan: Universities Welcome Statement

Universities New Zealand has welcomed the National Statement of Science Investment released by the Government today... this is a critical document as it sets out the Government’s ten-year strategic direction that will guide future investment in New Zealand’s science system. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news