Policy Forum

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.

Big data and fisheries management: Using satellites to track fishing activity

“After climate change, fishing is the biggest impact humans will have on the oceans. But we have very a limited understanding of what happens beyond the horizon. It’s out of sight,” says David Kroodsma, Global Fishing Watch Research Program Manager at SkyTruth. “Global Fishing Watch allows us to see where the fishing is happening and how much. This will lead to whole hosts of answers to questions about how we manage our oceans.”

Our jelly-like relatives: Common misconceptions about salps

‘Aliens’, ‘jelly-balls’, ‘globs’, ‘buckets of snot’, and ‘sea-walnuts’. These are the names media have used to describe salps, as mentioned by Nereus Fellow Natasha Henschke, Princeton University, in her recently published paper “Rethinking the Roles of Salps in the Ocean”.

Science fiction prototyping to imagine radical future ocean scenarios

We know the oceans are quickly changing; we are at a point in time where very different future oceans could be laid out in front of us.

Nereus Program Alumnus Andrew Merrie, Stockholm Resilience Centre, is curious about how those futures might differ. Using an innovative method called science fiction prototyping, he’s devised a set of four radical futures for global oceans and fisheries. Two of the scenarios represent more utopian futures, the other two are more dystopian. They are written as speculative fiction in different, engaging narrative styles: a travel magazine article, an obituary, the transcript of a “TED”-like talk, and a series of recovered journal entries.

Instability in the South China Sea: Ecosystem challenges and political complexities

One of the most significant – and increasingly bitter – international disputes of recent years has engaged legal claims over maritime territory in the South China Sea. Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982 (UNCLOS), to which the main protagonists are parties, states are entitled to claim an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) conferring sovereign rights and jurisdiction up to 200 nautical miles of maritime space from their coasts. In the South China Sea, however, this position has been complicated by historical claims over a series of small islands and reefs within the southern section of this area.

Five key aspects of sustainable aquaculture: Can aquaculture help tackle global food security, especially in Africa?

by Muhammed Oyinlola, Nereus Fellow

Aquaculture, the farming of aquatic species, is gradually becoming an important aspect of solving the challenge of global food security. The supply of seafood from fisheries is declining; fish stocks can only be increased if we reduce our fishing pressures, yet governments continue to subsidize the fishing industry for us to fish more. Hence, the open window we have is aquaculture. My argument is that we need to change from hunting in the ocean to farming the oceans just the way we changed hunting on land to producing animal protein by farming. Can aquaculture be our best option to increase the seafood supply for the world’s ever increasing population?