IN BRIEF - The decline of the Chinook salmon threatens a whole way of life
Wednesday, May 16, 2018
The salmon is not just a fish. It’s a culture. What the buffalo was to the First Nations of the North American Plains, the salmon is to the people of the Pacific Northwest. It used to be abundant up and down both coasts of the continent, but major hydroelectric projects and overfishing put an end to that. The largest remaining salmon run in the world is on the Yukon River, with headwaters at McNeil Lake, northeast of Whitehorse, and emptying into the Pacific in the western Alaskan town of Emmonak, more than 3,000 km away. Like the buffalo, the Chinook salmon—which the Americans call king salmon—is near extinction, threatening all adjacent society, but Indigenous cultures in particular.
British writer Adam Weymouth canoed those 3,000 km to explore the sanctity of the salmon’s journey. His observations and deep research form Kings of the Yukon: A River Journey In Search of the Chinook, a work that is equal parts travel writing, social science, biology and modern anthropology. The book demonstrates that people born to the North and people who have chosen the North share a generosity and resilience, as well as a sense of fatalism that comes from watching the world fall apart to the south. One man, originally from Boston, says, “There is at least one glimmer of hope: when the world comes to an end, the fish will recover just fine.” That suspicion of outsiders can be problematic when governments impose conservation measures, as in 2014–15, when an outright ban on fishing for Chinook was enacted on both sides of the international border along the Yukon River.
The study explores how climate change could affect marine aquaculture production, specifically of finfish and bivalves (such as oysters), around the world. The findings reveal that climate change is not only a threat to global production in the future, but affects producers today.
“Climate change is impacting marine aquatic farmers now, and it’s likely to get worse for most of the world if we don’t take mitigating measures,” says Halley Froehlich, a postdoctoral researcher at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis at the University of California, Santa Barbara and lead author of the paper, which appears in Nature Ecology & Evolution.
The new analysis reports an important and previously missing piece of the puzzle in understanding how climate change will affect the future of global food security and provides an essential first step toward helping ocean farmers and coastal countries prepare for the coming changes to ensure sustainable seafood production worldwide.
The EU and Sweden have agreed to contribute EUR 45m (USD 52m) to a project that aims to help protect marine biodiversity in the Pacific – and crack down on illegal activities such as fish ‘laundering’.
The Pacific-European Union Marine Partnership Programme (PEUMP) – backed with EUR 35m from the EU and EUR 10m from Sweden’s government – will try to help regional organisations tackle issues like unsustainable fishing, the impact of climate change and exploitation of people working in the sector.
It’s also planning to crack down on fraudulent behaviour like laundering. That involves a process called transhipment, in which large cargo ships with legitimate fishing permits taken catches from smaller, illegal fishing vessels to bypass controls, according to a report from the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP).
Russian billionaire Vitaly Orlov has lost an attempt to keep a USD 350m (GBP 270m) worldwide freezing order (WFO) against him secret amid an ongoing dispute with his former business partner over a stake in Russia's largest fishing company.
Fellow billionaire Alexander Tugushev is locked in a dispute with Orlov over claims he refuses to recognise his one-third ownership of Norebo, which is valued and more than GBP 1.5bn and made Orlov rich.
Orlov has disputed the existence of an agreement between the pair.
We may like to imagine the fish we eat comes from free-flowing rivers or the open seas but in reality, this is often not so. Over half of all fish consumed globally is harvested from farms.
Aquaculture, or fish farming as it is more commonly known, is one of the fastest-growing areas of food production internationally and Ireland could be the epicentre of the boom. Or so says Wayne Murphy, who is running Hatch, the world’s first dedicated aquaculture accelerator programme.
“Ireland as an island nation has huge potential to be a centre for innovation in aquaculture. Between our technological and marine talent, there is a real chance for the country to be a major player in this space,” says Murphy.
Canada’s fisheries department has announced a new series of fishery closures while opening previously closed areas as the result of the presence of North Atlantic Right Whales.
The dynamic closures are part of measures the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) announced in April which are designed to protect the endangered species of whales — 18 of which were killed in Canadian and U.S. waters in 2017.
The closures, which are meant to respond to sightings of the whales, will shut down the zones until further notice.
One of Scotland’s most senior fish farm watchdogs has quit to join the fish farming industry, prompting concerns about the effectiveness of environmental regulation.
The Ferret can reveal that Anne Anderson has resigned as GBP 80,000-a-year chief officer for compliance at the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa), where she oversaw the GBP 2 billion fish farming industry. She is going to become director of sustainability at the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation (SSPO), which represents multinational fish farming companies.
Her surprise move has sparked a chorus of criticism from environmental groups, who accuse Sepa of lacking “bark or bite”. They are calling on Scottish ministers to ensure that “revolving doors” between regulators and industry do not result in independent regulation falling prey to “industry creep”.
TACLOBAN CITY – The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) will form a joint task force to strengthen the government’s fight against illegal fishing in Eastern Visayas.
BFAR Regional Director Juan Albaladejo and PNP Regional Director Chief Supt. Dionardo Carlos will sign a deal on Friday creating the “Joint Task Force: Bantay Kadagatan”, with a mandate to strictly enforce existing fishery laws.
The team will focus its patrol in municipal waters, where production has been depleted by unregulated fishing and massive operation of commercial vessels. Municipal waters are within the 15-kilometer area from the shoreline.
The industry collective Stronger America Through Seafood will press for policies that support aquaculture, or the farming of fish and other sea creatures. The goal? To increase seafood production in the U.S., which is lagging behind other countries.
You may never have heard of aquaculture, but a new coalition of major players in the seafood industry want to boost its profile, especially among policymakers.
Aquaculture is the farming of fish or other sea creatures for food. With growing evidence that domestic seafood production isn’t meeting consumer demand, a new advocacy group called Stronger America Through Seafood is aiming to increase the industry’s production capacity through the use of aquaculture techniques. The group—which includes Cargill, Red Lobster, Sysco, and Pacific Seafood, among others—says those techniques been around for decades but aren’t being used to their full advantage in the U.S.