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Bushmeat and Ghana’s Fisheries

Biologist Justin Brashares from the University of California at Berkeley, along with his colleagues uncovered startling connections between Ghana’s bushmeat hunting pressures, West African fish supplies and disappearing African wildlife. Former vice president of Ghana, John Atta-Mills and colleagues from the University of British Columbia, including Rashid Sumaila, discuss the decline of Ghana’s fisheries.

Atta-Mills, J., Alder, J. and Sumaila, U. R. (2004). The decline of a regional fishing nation: The case of Ghana and West Africa. Natural Resources Forum 28: 13—21.

Brashares, J. P., Arcese, M. K., Sam, P. B., Coppolillo, A. R. E. and Sinclair, A. (2004). Balmford Bushmeat Hunting, Wildlife Declines, and Fish Supply in West Africa. Science, 306: 1180—82.

Brashares, J.S. (2003). Ecological, Behavioral, and Life-History Correlates of Mammal Extinctions in West Africa. Conservation Biology, 17(3): 733—743.

Fishing Subsidies,  Global Fisheries Management and Sustainable Fisheries Certification

Subsidies play a large role in world fisheries. By covering ship and fuel costs, these government handouts can allow fishing fleets from Europe and Asia to travel long distances and fish in West African waters. Many fisheries experts have called for reductions, eliminations and an overall restructuring of global fishing incentives to speed the recovery of struggling fisheries. Another promising solution is the independent certification program for sustainable fisheries conducted by the Marine Stewardship Council. This program directly offers buyers insight into the health of their seafood purchases.

Hilborn, R. (2007). Managing fisheries is managing people: What has been learned? Fish and Fisheries, 8: 285-296. http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/bsc/faf/2007/00000008/00000004/art00002 Off-site Link

Pauly, D. (2007). The Sea Around Us Project: Documenting and Communicating Global Fisheries Impacts on Marine Ecosystems. Ambio, 36(4): 290-295. http://ambio.allenpress.com/perlserv/?request=get-abstract&doi=10.1579%2F0044-
Off-site Link

Sumaila, U.R. and Pauly, D. (2007). All fishing nations must unite to end subsidies. Nature, 450: 945.

Sumaila, U.R., Khan, A., Watson, R., Munro, G., Zeller, D., Baron, N. and Pauly, D. (2007). The World Trade Organization and global fisheries sustainability. Fisheries Research, 88: 1—4.

The Marine Stewardship Council is an independent non profit organization that promotes responsible fishing practices. For more information on sustainable fisheries certification see www.msc.org. Off-site Link

Also visit the Strange Days Interactive Market to find out how to make wise seafood choices.

Namibian Sulfur Events

Off the coast of Namibia, the ocean periodically blanches, fish die in droves and putrid fumes rise from the water plaguing coastal towns. For more on these strange phenomena known as “sulfur events” and how sardine fishing may be linked, see:

Bakun, A. and Weeks, S. (2004). Greenhouse gas buildup, sardines, submarine eruptions and the possibility of abrupt degradation of intense marine upwelling ecosystems. Ecology Letters, 7: 1015—1023.

Bakun, A. (1996). Patterns in the Ocean: Ocean Processes and Marine Population Dynamics. University of California Sea Grant (in cooperation with Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas de Noroeste, La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico), San Diego, California, USA. Pdf-file freely downloadable at http://www.rsmas.miami.edu/divs/mbf/People/Faculty/Bakun/Publications/ Off-site Link

Bakun, A. and Weeks, S. (2006). Adverse feedback sequences in exploited marine systems: are deliberative interruptive actions warranted? Fish and Fisheries, 7: 316—333.

Emeis, K. C., Bruchert, V., Currie, B., Endler, R., Ferdelman, T., Kiessling, A. et al. (2004). Shallow gas in shelf sediments of the Namibian coastal upwelling ecosystem. Continental Shelf Research, 24: 627—642.

Weeks, S. J., Currie, B., Bakun, A. and Peard, K. (2004). Hydrogen sulphide eruptions in the Atlantic Ocean off southern Africa: implications of a new view based on SeaWiFS satellite imagery. Deep-Sea Research, 51: 153–172.


As human population grows so too does our protein demand. Can farmed fish fill this need? For more information on aquaculture: the promise, perils, innovations, concerns and latest reports from the industry, review the following resources:

Fish Info Network from Globefish. Globefish is the unit in the Food and Agricultural Organization’s (FAO) Fisheries Department responsible for information on international fish trade. www.globefish.org/index.php?id=4286 Off-site Link

Mann, C. C. (2004). The Bluewater Revolution. Wired Magazine, 12:05, www.wired.com/wired/archive/12.05/fish.html Off-site Link

Naylor, R. L., Goldburg, R. J., Primavera, J., Kautsky, N., Beveridge, M. C. M., Clay, J., Folke, C., Lubchenco, J., Mooney, H. and Troel, M. (2001). Effects of Aquaculture on World Fish Supplies. Issues in Ecology, 8: 1—14.

Skerry, B. (April 2007). The Greening of the Blue. National Geographic Magazine. http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0704/feature1/gallery22.html Off-site Link

General Ocean Health

For insight into the latest ocean discoveries of what lived, lives and will live in the world ocean, visit the Census of Marine Life—the largest oceanographic project in the history of humanity. http://www.coml.org/discoveries/index.htm Off-site Link

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) released a report mapping the myriad impacts of stressors such as climate change, pollution, exotic species, and over-exploitation of resources on the world ocean. The report shows at least 75 percent of the world's key fishing grounds may be affected.

Nellemann, C., Hain, S., and Alder, J. (Eds). February 2008. In Dead Water: Merging of climate change with pollution, over-harvest, andinfestations in the world’s fishing grounds. United Nations Environment Programme, GRID-Arendal, Norway. Available at http://www.unep.org/pdf/InDeadWater_LR.pdf Off-site Link

The New York Times discusses three studies that document the degradation of the world ocean, the decline of marine ecosystems and the collapse of important fish species. The New York Times, 9 March 2008 Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/09/opinion/09sun2.html?ref=todayspaper Off-site Link

Recently a renowned team of researchers surveyed overall global ocean health and concluded that not a single square foot of ocean had been left untouched by modern society, and that humans had fouled 41 percent of the seas with polluted runoff, overfishing, and other abuses.

Benjamin S. Halpern, Shaun Walbridge, Kimberly A. Selkoe, Carrie V. Kappel, Fiorenza Micheli, Caterina D'Agrosa et al. 15 February 2008. A Global Map of Human Impact on Marine Ecosystems. Science. Vol. 319. no. 5865, pp. 948 – 952. DOI: 10.1126/science.1149345. Abstract available at: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/319/5865/948?maxtoshow=&HITS Off-site Link

For a review of marine protected areas see:
Wood, L. J. (2007). MPA Global: A database of the world's marine protected areas. Sea Around Us Project, UNEP-WCMC & WWF. Available at www.mpaglobal.org. Off-site Link MPA News, March 2008



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