The search for the human face of the tuna industry

Finally, a scientific study correlates the UN’s Human Development Index (HDI) with tuna fishing. Our understanding of how social and economic drivers contribute to overexploitation is not well developed. The authors brilliantly address this problem by integrating social, ecological and economic indicators to help predict changes in exploitation status relative to the level that would support. At the Indian

Ocean Tuna Commission the EU said this idea, proposed by the Maldives, was too complicated and they have used their own system to calculate the impact of proposed allocation criteria. Well, read this and weep!!

Bark allows trees to defy gravity

De-barking, the act of removing bark from a living tree, is a common practice in Seychelles to kill invasive or otherwise unwanted trees. We were taught at school that bark’s function is purely to protect the plant from outside threats, much as skin does. So de-barking makes sense. However, I’ve watched de-barked Albizia, a highly invasive and fast growing tree introduced to Seychelles, keep on living and growing for a short while and then suddenly bending or losing branches and literally start to fall apart.

This has now been explained. When researchers recently studied the interior structure of both stem and bark, they found that the fibres in the bark were organised in a sort of trellis structure. As the tree grows, the circumference of the bark increases; this causes the trellis to generate forces along the stem to keep it growing upright. Bark therefore plays an important role in allowing trees to defy gravity by growing upwards

It’s amazing there are still discoveries to be made about something as ubiquitous as bark!

Kaboom! Blowing up illegal fishing boats helps local fisheries

Blowing up illegal fishing boats helps Indonesian fishers, says a new scientific study. Indonesia, one of the world’s leading producers of tuna, decided several years ago it had had enough of illegal foreign fishing boats entering its waters and taking an average of $4 billion a year in fisheries profits. This strategy, as astonishing as it may be to us in Seychelles, seems to have worked as a deterrent.

Continue reading “Kaboom! Blowing up illegal fishing boats helps local fisheries”

There’s a glyphosate in my breakfast

There goes my breakfast! I don’t know what to eat anymore. Significant levels of the chemical glyphosate have been found in 43 types of breakfast cereals, oats and snack bars a new study has found. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in the popular weedkiller Roundup made by Monsanto. Products with some of the highest levels of glyphosate are made by leading industry names like Quaker, Kellogg’s and General Mills, which makes Cheerios.

Continue reading “There’s a glyphosate in my breakfast”

Grasping at Straws? Banning plastic without further action won’t stem the tide

The Seychelles government has been banning plastic products from single use plastic bags to plastic straws one after the other. The reasons, from aesthetics to impacts on wildlife, are obvious. Governments in many countries are doing the same. But, banning these products without significant further action is putting a finger on a spigot at a time when we need to suppress the tidal wave, says the World Resources Institute. Whilst these laws may reduce the most visible form of plastic pollution, it could be at the expense of other environmental impacts. That’s because, somewhat ironically, disposable plastic bags require fewer resources to produce than paper, cotton or reusable plastic bags. You would need to reuse a paper bag at least 43 times for its per-use environmental impacts to be equal to or less than that of a typical disposable plastic bag used one time. An organic cotton bag must be reused 20,000 times to produce less of an environmental impact than a single-use plastic bag. That would be like using a cotton bag every day for nearly 55 years. As a society, we should think holistically about the products we use and their impacts. We can’t just ban bad products—we must invest in alternatives.

Transshipment of fish at sea raises global concern

First-ever large-scale analysis of fishing vessel interactions exposes the potential extent of unmanaged exchange of goods at sea

The first-ever large-scale analysis of fishing vessel interactions exposes the potential extent of unmanaged exchange of goods at sea, raising global concerns over illegal fishing and human rights abuses. Transshipment at sea, the offloading of catch from a fishing vessel to a refrigerated vessel far from port, can obscure the actual source of the catch, complicating sustainable fisheries management, and may allow illegally caught fish to enter the legitimate seafood market. Transshipment activities often occur in regions of unclear jurisdiction where policymakers or enforcement agencies may be slow to act against a challenge they cannot see. Continue reading “Transshipment of fish at sea raises global concern”

The Decade of Ocean Science: Will the UN deliver on its pledge for new funding for SIDS?

UNESCO says the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development will help accelerate progress towards SDG 14, the Sustainable Development Goal for the conservation and sustainable use of the ocean, seas and marine environment, and one which is particularity important for Seychelles. Continue reading “The Decade of Ocean Science: Will the UN deliver on its pledge for new funding for SIDS?”

Mariculture And New Food From The Ocean

The farming of aquatic species for food has been going on for centuries. But both marine fisheries and the farming of marine fish have in the last 2 decades reached critical bottlenecks.  New scientific evidence points to sustainable “culture” (mariculture) and  “capture” (fishing) at lower trophic levels as the way to bring about an increase in food from the ocean,  says a new report from the European Commission entitled Food From The Ocean. Continue reading “Mariculture And New Food From The Ocean”