Posts Tagged sustainability

Jan 29 2016

U.S. Fisheries Management Clears High Bar for Sustainability Based on New Assessment

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January 28, 2016 — The following was released by NOAA Fisheries:

Today, NOAA Fisheries announced the publication of a peer-reviewed self-assessment that shows the standards of the United States fishery management system under the Magnuson-Stevens Act more than meet the criteria of the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization’s ecolabelling guidelines. These same guidelines serve as a basis for many consumer seafood certification and ranking schemes. The assessment demonstrates that the U.S. fisheries management system is particularly strong when considering responsiveness and science-based criteria. Beyond the biological and ecosystem criteria, the assessment also pointed out that the U.S. system incorporates the social and economic components of fisheries essential for effective long-term stewardship.

This assessment was authored by Dr. Michelle Walsh, a former NOAA Fisheries Knauss Fellow and current member of the Marine Science Faculty at Florida Keys Community College. Walsh evaluated the sustainability of how U.S. federal fisheries are managed using the FAO’s Guidelines for the Ecolabelling of Fish and Fishery Products from Marine Capture Fisheries. These guidelines are a set of internationally recognized criteria used to evaluate the sustainability of fisheries around the world.

“While the performance of U.S. fisheries clearly illustrates that the U.S. management system is effective, my colleagues and I wanted to evaluate the U.S. approach to fisheries management as a whole against these international guidelines for ecolabelling seafood,” said Walsh.

Walsh found that the U.S. federal fisheries management system meets all of the FAO guidelines for sustainability. In particular, the assessment highlighted some key strengths of the U.S. system (represented by white/green dots on infographic) including:

  • Complying with national and international laws
  • Developing and abiding by documented management approaches with frameworks at national or regional levels
  • Incorporating uncertainty into stock reference points and catch limits while taking actions if those limits are exceeded
  • Taking into account the best scientific evidence in determining suitable conservation and management measures with the goal of long-term sustainability
  • Restoring stocks within reasonable timeframes

Evaluating Sustainability

“Sustainability” is about meeting the needs and wants of current generations without compromising those of future generations (WCED, 1987; United Nations, 1987). However, evaluating sustainability can become considerably more complex in the context of wild-caught fisheries in the dynamic ocean environment, where population trends and environmental conditions are often unclear or unknown.

Due to this complexity, many certification schemes assess sustainability on a fishery-by-fishery basis by evaluating discrete management approaches (such as gear type) and current stock status at a snapshot in time. This assessment, on the other hand, evaluates the U.S. management system as a whole against the FAO guidelines for ecolabels. It evaluates the capacity of the management system to respond to changes in stock levels and adapt to changing conditions via management measures that maintain sustainability over the long-term.

Mar 26 2015

VIDEO: Ray Hillborn Comments on What Makes a Sustainable Fishery

CWPA preamble: Our Coastal Pelagic Species fisheries all account for environmental variability in fishery management.  Our sardine fishery is the poster fish for ecosystem-based management —  perhaps the most precautionary management in the world.

Published  by permission

SEAFOODNEWS.COM [SeafoodNews] March 25, 2015

In our latest video segment the ongoing series profiling the history  of fishery management in Alaska and the US, produced by Steve Minor, renowned professor of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington Ray Hilborn offers his opinion of what fishery sustainability means from a scientific perspective.  He is critical of simplistic arguments that use changes in stock- such as is happening with sardines in California – as any kind of sustainabiity metric.

According to Hilborn fishery sustainability shouldn’t solely depend on catch volumes on a year-to-year basis. Hilborn says the volatility of fish stocks can skew data. Rather, Hilborn highlights a multitude of factors that should be considered before a fishery can be labeled sustainable. Hilborn says how a fishery is managed over time and what motives are driving that particular scheme should largely be considered before an ecolabel is approved.

Watch the video here.

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Sep 14 2012

Sea Level’s Rise Focus of Summit

Projections of dramatic change draw group to UCSD to strategize about vulnerabilities of affected areas

LA JOLLA — Climate researchers, social scientists and policy experts from across the Pacific Rim convened at UC San Diego last week to get ahead of seas projected to rise so dramatically that they could create some of the most visible effects of global warming.

Representatives from about 20 leading research universities and nonprofit groups in South Korea, Russia, Indonesia and elsewhere met to prepare for potentially catastrophic effects on 200 million people and trillions of dollars of coastal assets.

Sea levels off most of California are expected to rise about 3 feet by 2100, according to recent projections by the National Research Council. Higher seas create challenges for port cities from San Diego to Singapore, including the potential for dramatically increased damage to coastal roads, homes and beaches — especially during storms.

“All future development has to be assessed in regards to future rises in sea level,” Steffen Lehmann, professor of sustainable design at the University of South Australia, said during the conference. “Reducing the vulnerabilities of urban (areas) is the big topic, the big task ahead of us now.”

Potential responses include managing a retreat from eroding bluffs and reshaping coastal areas to buffer development from higher water levels. “The missing link (is) between the science and those guys in planning offices and architecture firms and city municipal offices,” Lehmann said.

David Woodruff, director of the University of California San Diego’s Sustainability Solutions Institute, organized the workshop to address that problem with cross-disciplinary discussions that move toward international action.

“We are trying to affect societal change,” he said. “The sooner we start scoping options, the less expensive it will be to save current infrastructure.”

The workshop was sponsored by the Association of Pacific Rim Universities, a consortium of 42 leading research institutions. Participants drafted a report about rising sea levels for top university leaders so they can make the topic a priority with national-level leaders around the Pacific Rim.

“I really think universities can play a key role,” said UC San Diego’s Charles Kennel. “They are right at the pivot point between connecting knowledge to action. … One of the places they need to transfer their knowledge to is adaptation to climate change.”

A warming climate causes sea levels to rise primarily by heating the oceans — which causes the water to expand — and by melting land ice, which drains water to the ocean. Sea levels at any given spot depend on a complex interaction of factors, such as ocean and atmospheric circulation patterns and tectonic plate movements.

Global sea level has risen about 7 inches during the 20th century, the National Research Council said.

While sea-level-rise projections aren’t a sure thing, they are widely accepted by mainstream scientists. Skeptics see it as a waste of money to plan for problems that may not materialize for decades, or may be more modest than predicted.

Read more on the Union-Tribune San Diego.