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Policy Forum

Reproductive strategies and rockfish: A life history traits framework for fisheries management

Any trip to an aquarium or seafood market reveals the incredible variety of fishes. These fishes not only differ in how they look, but in traits related to life history. Life history traits include maximum body size, longevity, age at maturity, and fecundity – the number of eggs produced. Fishes that have the same phylogeny, or evolutionary history, share similar traits. Conversely, unrelated fishes occasionally evolve similar traits independently.

From quiet meadows to open ocean: why seagrass meadows are important for fisheries

A meadow under the sea? Not to be confused with seaweeds, seagrasses are land plants that have adapted to living their entire lives submerged in saltwater. They are close relatives of terrestrial grasses, seagrasses are thought to have colonized marine environments several millions of years ago. Different species of seagrass are found in tropic and temperate regions around the world from Southeast Asia to Scandinavia and all around North America. They are known as a “foundation species” because they create important habitat for a wide array of other organisms.

Regulating New Fisheries: Emerging Rules for Emerging Stocks

By Richard Caddell, Nereus Program Fellow at Utrecht University

It is increasingly evident that profound changes will be necessary to current fishing practices in order to meet future global demand for seafood. Many fisheries are already operating at or beyond their ecological and economic capacity, while climate change and associated processes are projected to have significant impacts upon the future distribution of fish stocks.

Climate change could increase fishing fuel consumption

We know that fuel use contributes to climate change, but in a vicious circle, climate change could also increase fuel use in fishing. This is due to fish shifting their distributions due to warming waters. With this increased use of fuel and the increasing price, small-scale and artisanal fishers will have a harder time sustaining livelihoods and feeding their families under climate change.

In response to: A Global Estimate of Seafood Consumption by Coastal Indigenous Peoples

Traditionally, Indigenous people have resisted research, especially quantitative research that has fed into the imposition of discriminatory socio-economic and political policies to the detriment of Indigenous communities. However, having access to a global database that quantifies fish consumption specifically by Coastal Indigenous peoples around the world, is a critical contribution to Indigenous struggle on a number of fronts.

The Madingley model and questions of abstraction and scale

Madingley is a global computational model. To a broad approximation, the Madingley model represents all (most) forms of life. It achieves this by using what’s called a functional-type representation. Species are aggregated in to broad categories that describe a select number of their properties, rather than everything about them. For some, this conceptual leap is too much. Why take a step towards representing all life, but miss the explicit inclusion of species? The answer lies in making the best of human knowledge, and balancing computational expense.

Mexico needs to rethink environmental protection budget cuts, prioritize ecologically-sustainable human development

By Andrés M. Cisneros-Montemayor

Mexico recently released its budget for 2017, and among the top five largest cuts were environmental protection (down by 37%), culture (-30%), and education (-11%). Political rhetoric aside, these cuts reflect a continuing view of these issues as minor, long-term, or otherwise less important or pressing. The problem is, these views also directly contradict a growing recognition in international policy of the importance of the environment, culture and education, in and of themselves, but also as part of an interdependent suite of human development goals.