Marine and aquatic resources are diminishing dangerously due to many factors, such as overfishing, pollution and global warming. This depletion is of particular concern in southern countries, where fish, a source of revenue for millions of people, is of major importance in terms of food security (approximately one billion people on a world-wide scale are dependent on fish as the principal source of animal protein in their diet). Although the oceans were considered inexhaustible in the last century, many fisheries today show signs of decline. Locally as well as globally, the same conclusion has been drawn: the world’s fisheries seem to have reached their maximum potential.
In this context, scientific research has an essential role to play, especially that there are still many gaps in knowledge in this area, as it is only recently that research efforts have focused on the functioning of marine ecosystems as a whole. Fisheries clearly have a strong impact on targeted species. However, their direct and indirect effects on other components of the marine ecosystem should not be ignored, as the health of the entire ecosystem is potentially affected by fishing activities. There is an urgent need to implement management techniques that take into account the impact of fisheries on the whole ecosystem. Current fisheries practices, too often based on short-term policies with a view to economic profitability are threatening the long term sustainability of marine resources and ecosystems, but also the middle term future of the fisheries sector.
New marine centre to study
Africa's climate challenges
Image Legend: The centre will study three oceans, including the South Atlantic. Credit: Flickr\marix...
Priced Out of NutritionLast Updated on 2011-01-10 00:00:00
Nutritional Security is in the Balance
On SciDev.Net (20 January 2010), Suresh Babu notes that worldwide many are priced out of nutrition (that is, poor populations cope with higher food prices by shifting to less:
Developing countries urgently need nutritional interventions to safeguard vulnerable people during economic crises.
Food insecurity receives much attention from researchers and donors. But the lack of nutrition security — access to balanced nourishment — is much less visible and equally devastating to the health and economic development of poor populations.
The effects of malnourishment are stark. A lack of protein exponentially increases children's risk of death, while vitamin A and iron deficiencies are also associated with higher infant and child mortality. Early life and childhood malnutrition leads to stunting and anaemia, which not... More »
Whales and Ocean HealthLast Updated on 2010-10-12 09:29:43The Whale Pump: Marine Mammals Enhance
Primary Productivity in a Coastal Basin
In their Absrtact, Roman and McCarthy report that
It is well known that microbes, zooplankton, and fish are important sources of recycled nitrogen in coastal waters, yet marine mammals have largely been ignored or dismissed in this cycle. Using field measurements and population data, we find that marine mammals can enhance primary productivity in their feeding areas by concentrating nitrogen near the surface through the release of flocculent fecal plumes. Whales and seals may be responsible for replenishing 2.3×104 metric tons of N per year in the Gulf of Maine's euphotic zone, more than the input of all rivers combined. This upward “whale pump” played a much larger role before commercial harvest, when marine mammal recycling of nitrogen was likely more than three times... More »
Monitoring World AgricultureLast Updated on 2010-08-16 00:00:00Global Network Needed to
Monitor World's Agriculture
Sources: SciDev.Net and Nature
29 July 2010
Writing in Nature, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, Jeffrey Sachs, and 24 agricultural experts call for a global network to monitor the effects of agriculture on the environment.
Evaluating the social, environmental and economic effects of different farming systems is a key step towards making agriculture sustainable and ensuring food security, say the authors.
Current monitoring efforts are not up to the task. They focus on narrow criteria and are rarely comparable across regions because of inconsistencies in the methods used. And some farming systems, such as traditional pastoralist systems, are frequently under-represented, say the authors.
They argue that data must be collected for a suite of standard metrics in a systematic way, using a... More »
IPCC for Biodiversity?Last Updated on 2010-06-28 00:00:00Wanted: an IPCC for biodiversity
Q: Are the recommendations offered in this Editorial reasonable and feasible? What perspective can you add to this discussion?
An independent, international science panel would
coordinate and highlight research on a pressing topic.
An Editorial posted in Nature on June 3, 2010, calls for the consttution of a fact-finding panel on biological diversity threats, needs and futures:
The 2006 review of the economics of climate change, chaired by economist Nicholas Stern, served as a wake-up call to the need to respond to long-term climatic risks. Similarly, the final report of the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity study, due this October, is touted as a 'Stern review for nature'. It will no doubt make a grim read that presents the massive price of biodiversity loss, and the destruction of ecosystems and the services they... More »
Western Mediterranean Has WarmedLast Updated on 2010-06-20 00:00:00The Western Mediterranean Has
Warmed for More Than a Century
ScienceDaily reports (June 18, 2010) on "[t]he longest sequences of temperature and salinity data analyzed (from 1900 to present). . .". The data confirms ". . .the gradual warming of the waters of the western Mediterranean. The warming has accelerated since the mid 1970's. Researchers from the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO) in collaboration with the Institute of Marine Sciences of Barcelona (ICM, CSIC), have demonstrated that the waters of the Western Mediterranean have been warming progressively throughout the twentieth century,. . .".
Read More. . .
Also, Read: Ocean changes may have dire impacts on people
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