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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.”

What effects will Brexit have on the UK’s fishing industry? Uncertainties facing policy, science and society.

In the lead up to last week’s referendum on whether the United Kingdom should remain in the European Union, immigration often seemed to be at the forefront at the debate. But the fishing industry was also a hot topic, even leading to demonstrations and bitter exchanges on the impact of EU membership, including from boats on the Thames. With the UK voting to leave the EU, there is a lot of uncertainty for the future of fisheries. Here are some areas, affecting policy, science and society, where the impacts may be felt.

Fish of the day: Why does seafood seasonality matter?

By Wilf Swartz, Nereus Program Manager/Research Associate

Japanese call it shun (旬), the seasonality of food. It refers to the time of year when a specific type of food is at its peak, either in terms of harvest or flavour. It is not unique to Japanese culture, as The Byrds reminded us in the mid-1960s with their, now classic, rendition of “Turn! Turn! Turn! (to Everything There Is a Season).”

Ask an Expert: Why is the global fishing industry given $35 billion in subsidies each year?

OceanCanada Research Director Rashid Sumaila and his collaborators from the UBC Global Fisheries Cluster (Sea Around Us and the Nereus Program) have published an updated estimate of global fisheries subsidies in the international journal Marine Policy. The researchers found that the global fishing industry is being supported by $35 billion yearly in government subsidies, the majority of these, upwards of $20 billion annually, promote increased capacity that can lead to harmful impacts such as overfishing.

Ask an Expert: What impacts will the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) have on the trade of fish and seafood?

On October 5th, twelve countries reached an agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which would create the world’s largest free-trade zone. The countries involved — Canada, Japan, the USA, Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, Singapore, Mexico, Vietnam, Australia, Peru and Malaysia — represent 40 percent of the world’s economy. The TPP would see tariffs on fish and seafood being eliminated, allowing for potentially more exports and imports between partnering countries, and new environmental and labour standards put in place.

From ocean to consumer: Wilf Swartz on public awareness and transparency down the supply chain

When you find a fish at a decent price, there’s more than meets the eye. Behind that price tag lies a whole supply chain that remains untraceable and unseen to the average consumer, which can create the illusion of sustainable practices.

Wilf Swartz, Research Associate with the Nereus Program, is calling for a more transparent system— as well as increased public awareness and corporate social responsibility surrounding sustainability.