Oceana Marine biologist Jackie Savitz, Looks to the world’s oceans to feed the planet’s billion hungriest people


I was just sent a fabulous TED video to watch from a friend of mine, who told that the marine scientist in this video “gets it!”

The TED Website Introduces the ‘talk’ by Marine biologist Jackie Savitz entitled ‘Save the oceans, feed the world!’ thus:

What’s a marine biologist doing talking about world hunger? Well, says Jackie Savitz, fixing the world’s oceans might just help to feed the planet’s billion hungriest people. In an eye-opening talk, Savitz tells us what’s really going on in our global fisheries right now — it’s not good — and offers smart suggestions of how we can help them heal, while making more food for all.”

Click here to view the transcript


New Zealand to help Tonga develop a well-managed & sustainable deepwater line fishery


I just saw a wee snippet in Dive New Zealand:

The $2.7m NZ government-funded project draws expertise from the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), the South Pacific community, Tonga’s government and fishing industry. The aim is to develop a well-managed, sustainable line fishery for deepwater fish in Tonga’s Exclusive Economic Zone. 

This Tongan aid programme was first announced last month by NIWA in a press release:

New Zealand helps Tongan deepwater fisheries development

A programme to help Tonga maximise the economic benefits of commercial fishing has been launched in the country’s capital, Nuku’alofa.

Coinciding with a visit to Tonga by New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, the $2.7m NZ government-funded project draws together expertise from the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), the Secretariat for the Pacific Community, Tonga’s government and fishing industry.

The aim is to develop a well-managed, sustainable line fishery for deepwater fish in Tonga’s Exclusive Economic Zone.

Project leader and NIWA fisheries scientist Dr Stuart Hanchet said the project was funded by the NZ Aid Partnership Programme and partners will explore ways to maximise economic returns and develop new market opportunities.

“Biological sustainability and improved management are also key objectives,” Dr Hanchet said.

The project builds on the recently approved Tongan Deepwater Fisheries Management Plan by providing key information to support implementation of the plan.

Sustainable development in Tonga

The Agenda 21 website provides a good overview on sustainable development in Tonga:

The Agenda 21 was adopted at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The Conference recommended that States consider preparing national reports and communicating the information therein to the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) including, activities they undertake to implement Agenda 21, the obstacles and challenges they confront, and other environment and development issues they find relevant.

The Johannesburg Summit 2002 (the World Summit on Sustainable Development) organised by UN Commission on Sustainable Development focused on strategies for meeting challenges that best humanity going forward, including improving people’s lives and conserving our natural resources in a world that is growing in population, with ever-increasing demands for food, water, shelter, sanitation, energy, health services and economic security.

Also see: NZ announces “sustainable” development assistance for Tonga

Incredible (near) futuristic videos: ‘A day made of glass’


I was just sent these youtube clips that were put together by Corning entitled “A Day made of Glass

These days of glass are not far away!

These clips are certainly a peak at where we are going.

Who are Corning?

From there ‘about us page’ at http://www.corning.com/:

Corning is one of the world’s leading innovators in materials science. For more than 160 years, Corning has applied its unparalleled expertise in specialty glass, ceramics, and optical physics to develop products that have transformed people’s lives. Today, Corning’s products enable diverse industries such as consumer electronics, telecommunications, transportation, and life sciences. Learn more about how Corning collaborates closely with customers and applies its unique combination of material and process expertise to solve tough technology challenges.”

See their Videos:

A Day Made of Glass – Made possible by Corning… (2011)

A Day Made of Glass 2 (2012)

A Day Made of Glass 2: Unpacked (2012)

A Day Made of Glass 90-Second Montage (2013)

      • A fast-paced, 90-second snapshot of Corning’s vision for the future of glass technologies.  View Video

A Day Made of Glass 5-Minute Montage (2013)

      • An overarching, five-minute montage of Corning’s “A Day Made of Glass” video series.  View Video

Students React to the “A Day Made of Glass” Videos (2012)

      • A group of high school students comment on Corning’s vision for the future of glass technologies.  View Video

Doesn’t US expansion of ‘No go’ areas around its Remote Pacific Ocean Areas simply Relocate Risk? This is the Criticism The White House is receiving on Pacific MPA initiative!


President Obama has recently announced (also see this GFBF post) his intention to make a broad swath of the central Pacific Ocean off-limits to fishing, energy exploration and other activities according to the Washington Post.

President Obama and actor Leonardo DiCaprio pledged Tuesday to help protect the ocean and challenged other nations to undertake bold initiatives of their own before it’s too late.

Speaking via video at a State Department conference, Obama stressed that the sea is more than an alluring landscape — it’s also a source of food and economic growth. Climate change, overfishing and pollution now threaten to degrade that resource, the president said. “We cannot afford to let that happen,” he said. “That’s why the United States is leading the fight to protect our oceans.”

DiCaprio (at the same conference), advised that Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation would spend $7 million over the next two years on marine conservation supporting nations that are expanding marine reserves, as well as other initiatives. He noted that he had “witnessed environmental devastation firsthand” as he had gone diving in regions across the world, and urged global leaders to be more ambitious.

This isn’t simply an exercise in wildlife conservation… If we don’t do something to save the ocean now, it won’t be just the sharks and the dolphins that suffer. It will be our children and our grandchildren.”

DiCaprio noted that his first charitable donation was to a group that protected endangered manatees in Florida, adding that he had revered the sea ever since he was young. “Before I wanted to become an actor, I dreamt of becoming a marine biologist” he said.

According to the White House, the Pacific Ocean area:

Contains some of the most pristine tropical marine environments in the world, [which are] also among the most vulnerable areas to the impacts of climate change and ocean acidification.”

The Washington Post reported that he plans to use his executive authority to expand the Pacific Remote Islands National Marine Monument, a grouping of seven islands and atolls in the south-central Pacific Ocean. This proposal, said to go into effect later this year after a consultation period, proposes to expand US Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument would be expanded from almost 87,000 square miles to nearly 782,000 square miles — all of it adjacent to seven islands and atolls controlled by the United States. The designation would include waters up to 200 nautical miles offshore from the territories.

This initiative could in effect create the world’s largest marine sanctuary and double the area of ocean globally that is fully protected.

Report on Expansion of theU.S. Pacific Remote Islands Marine	National 	Monument for US Government by Sala et al. [Click To download]

Report on Expansion of the U.S. Pacific Remote
Islands Marine National Monument for US Government by Sala et al.
[Click To download]

Furthermore this proposed conservation initiative is consistent with the National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan, and is therefore unlikely to trigger any legal need for congressional approval. The initiative does not create new regulations, supersede current regulations, or modify any agency’s established mission, jurisdiction or authority. It doesn’t redirect congressionally-appropriated funds, or direct agencies to divert funds from existing programs.

On the contrary the initiative (like the Implementation Plan) “improves interagency collaboration and prioritization to help focus limited resources and use taxpayer dollars more efficiently.”

National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan [Click To download]

National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan [Click To Read]

The rationale behind the proposed conservation initiative (according to the Washington Post) is as follows:

  1. With marine reserves, bigger is often better. Many scientists–such as Lance Morgan and Elliott Norse of the Redmond, Wash.-based Marine Conservation Institute–argue that the ecological benefits expand exponentially when sanctuaries are enlarged, both because they allow species to move freely and because they are easier to enforce.
  2. Underwater Topographical Features (UTFs)  matterSeamounts– mountains (above 1,000m in elevation) that lie beneath the ocean’s surface–can be hotspots of biodiversity. There are anywhere between 40 to 51 in the current protected area, and that number could increase if the president extends the reserve to 200 miles surrounding each of its seven islands and atolls.
  3. Since it’s devoid of people, animals thrive there. Almost everywhere in the world, small fish outnumber big fish. But in places such as Palmyra Atoll and Kingman Reef, scientists have found the biomass of large predators such as sharks outweighs that of smaller fish. The area–which also includes Wake, Johnston, Jarvis, Howland and Baker Islands–also features five species of protected sea turtles and 22 species of protected marine mammals as well as several million seabirds who gather there.
  4. There isn’t much commercial activity there, and it can move elsewhere. The fish caught in this region accounts for between 1 and 3 percent of the U.S. tuna catch in the central and western Pacific, and it is proposed that the seafood Industry can fish elsewhere.  The industry may still object to the expansion, however, which is one of the reasons why the White House is seeking public input before making a final decision.
  5. There is a global contest for bragging rights when it comes to creating marine reserves. At this point, environmentalists are hoping President Obama will be tempted to trump George W. Bush’s record as the U.S. president who has protected the most area in the ocean. If finalized, this would become the world’s largest no-take marine reserve. Britain, which currently holds the record for fully protecting the biggest swath of ocean around the Chagos Islands, is now looking at putting an area around Pitcairn Island off limits

[Note: Currently New Zealand and Australia collectively have just under half of all the MPAs in the World within their EEZs with networks of MPAs protecting representative areas (see map below)]

UNEP IUCN Map of Global Marine Protected Areas.

UNEP IUCN Map of Global Marine Protected Areas. [Click to enlarge]

Well doesn’t shutting down a shop over there simply force those shoppers to shop elsewhere?

According to Fox News the U.S fishery council that governs the Pacific territories’ fisheries oppose the initiative:

The proposed restrictions are “unnecessary,” and enforcing them would  be “overstepping currently managed sustainable management regimes, reducing US fisheries competitiveness, and yielding few, if any, ecological benefits,”  according to a report issued two weeks after the State Department conference by the Western  Pacific Regional  Fishery Management Council — a group created by the federal government itself.

The Obama administration “failed to consult the [Council] about the true economic and environmental impacts of its plan to expand the Monument,” which overrides existing fishery management legislation.

The fishermen also charge that the expanded preserves will almost entirely affect U.S. fishing vessels, which they argue are already the best managed and most supervised in the world, even though any overfishing in the vast Pacific involves a variety of international fleets, and notably these days a rapidly increasing flotilla from China.

This sentiment was reiterated by professor Ray Hilborn of the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences at University of Washington (a renowned authority on global fish populations), who sees the marine preserves as embodying a zoological contradiction:

“They are supposedly intended to protect fish such as tuna that are “highly migratory” and travel thousands of miles during their life-span.

The areas proposed are too small to impact the stock status of large tuna populations that span the Pacific Ocean. These are token closures and will have no real impact on the fishes of the ocean.”

The best solution to address overfishing of highly migratory stocks is working cooperatively within the international community on science-based measures, monitoring compliance, and tough consequences for non-compliance.”

Prof. Carl Walters of the University of British Columbia, agrees with Prof. Hilborn:

You would need to substantially close the entire Western Pacific. The kind of 20 percent standards that are being set now are not very effective.”

According to to Island Business the intiative  has been criticised by the South Pacific Regional organisation the Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) as well:

The director general of the Forum Fisheries Agency, James Movick, says the U.S move could drive longliners into the southern seas, further depleting the very stock the small island states are trying to conserve.

“It’s hard to see what precise management benefit would be obtained from that. What it will do though is encourage those fleets to relocate, including onto the high seas and other areas where they might be less subject to close management.”

FFA Member Countries.  Source: FFA (http://license.ffa.int/try5.html#)

FFA Member Countries.
Source: FFA (http://license.ffa.int/try5.html#)


9 reasons why we should eat more fish


I just read in the Executive Living section of Saturday’s Australian that we should be eating more fish.

Well I have know this for awhile :)

But given the disposition of most periodicals with respect to seafood I almost fell over to see it in print.

But I have to agree.

Seafood is a super food. It has no preservatives, emulsifiers, colours, acidity regulators or other dubious additives (it is simply ‘what you see is what you get’). Seafood contains all sorts of proteins and minerals that our bodies just love and can’t get from other food sources efficiently. And what’s more the harvest of seafood requires less environmental modification that organic vegetables, and free range livestock. And unlike the fishstocks of the late 1980s and early 1990’s, domestic fishstocks are increasingly meticulously managed as are the effects of harvest on the environment…

But instead of providing you with some personal declamation on the benefits of of fruits de Mer; I have included a rather more refined discourse from the Australian’s food editor ‘s entitled 9 reasons why we should eat more fish:


1. Get With the Strength: Fish is the world’s most traded protein, and it’s twice the size of the coffee trade. It had an estimated export value of $US136 billion last year, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation. And it will be even more important in future. As World Aquaculture Society president Graham Mair points out, by the end of this century we will need to produce the same amount of food as we produced in the past 10,000 years, so aquaculture will be pivotal to global food security.

2. Health: Yes, of course you already knew fish is good for you. Just how good? Have a look at the accompanying graph, published earlier this month in a report by the High Level Panel of Experts to the UN Committee on World Food Security: the case for obtaining your essential omega-3 fatty acids from fish just keeps getting stronger (and, yes, the authors say it is indeed correct that the level of iron in beef is lower than in most fish, particularly small freshwater fish). At the same time, in light of increasing evidence of neurodevelopmental benefits from eating fish, the US Food and Drug Administration has revised its dietary recommendations to encourage pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and young children to eat more of it — two to three servings a week — from choices low in mercury.

3. We were meant to eat it: Remember Sam Neill in those red meat ads? Well, sorry Sam, but it was the Neanderthals who ate lots of red meat. Modern humans became modern by eating lots of oysters, mussels and fish (paleo nuts, take note). As a Scientific American article, “When the Sea Saved Humanity”, reveals, when the number of breeding humans crashed to about 600 in five locations across Africa, it was seafood and root vegetables that helped us survive, not steak.

4. It tastes better: Of course, we’d all like to eat wild fish that jumped into the boat on a longline shortly before hitting our plates. We’re dreaming, mostly. Fact is, thanks to advances in aquaculture combined with a more focused approach to eating quality, the best farmed fish in Australia is emulating those desirable wild-caught characteristics of flavour and texture. (See breakout.)

5. Dementia prevention: In Don’t Miss the Bus, a new book drawing on the latest findings in neuroscience from the University of California, South Australian author Rex J. Lipman names a list of a dozen “Gold Medal” food groups vital to maintaining brain health and preventing dementia and Alzheimer’s. The only animal products on the list are fish — specifically salmon, trout and sardines — and dairy foods.

6. Weight loss: Seafood can help tackle the global obesity crisis, says health writer Martin Bowerman, author of Lean Forever: The Scientific Secrets of Permanent Weight Loss. Speaking at World Aquaculture Adelaide, Bowerman said fish provided more protein for comparably lower calorie intake than other meats and this “calorie efficiency” was key to a high-protein weight-loss diet.

7. The Price of Fish: Yes, I too have seen King George whiting at up to $84 a kilogram at my local market. But fish doesn’t have to be just a Good Friday luxury. Ask your fishmonger for these delicious, underrated, affordable species, among others: sardines, blue mussels, banana prawns, albacore tuna, pink snapper and eastern school whiting.

8. Sustainability: While all farmed animals need to be fed, aquaculture represents the most efficient method by which to convert feed to edible protein. And some species, such as the molluscs, oysters and mussels, do not need to be fed at all.

9. It will help you live longer: In a recent report prepared for Canada’s aquaculture industry, How Higher Seafood Consumption Can Save Lives, the authors quote a study from Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Washington that found older adults with high blood levels of fish-derived fatty acids lived, on average, 2.2 years longer than those with lower levels. “Increasing levels of fish consumption (to the recommended levels) could save about 7000 lives (in Canada) a year,” the report concluded.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall final round bell rings on a very successful Fish Fight!


I was disappointed to read today that Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is giving up his Fish Fight after 4 long years of fisticuffs with British and European fisheries policy makers, Seafood Producers and Seafood Retailers to try and procure a ban on the practice of discarding. 

I saw his documentary “Fish Fight: Hugh’s Last Stand” where he provided tightly wrapped ‘readers digest’ version of his 4 year campaign. I have to say I was dead impressed.

I understand why he is moving on… The personal resources it must have taken to get this whole fight going???







Fish Fight lands its final blow

By Jason Holland, SeafoodSource contributing editor reporting from London

Published on 07 March, 2014

After almost four years of remonstrating, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Fish Fight campaign bowed out with the airing of “Fish Fight: Hugh’s Last Stand,” a one-off documentary that mostly tracked back over some of the battles the campaigning broadcaster-cum-chef has had with various sectors and decision makers in the seafood industry.

Fearnley-Whittingstall says he launched Fish Fight in 2010 “to highlight the massive problems facing our global fish industry.” His main aim was to stop the practice of discarding in European waters, so with the new Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) introducing a phased discard ban from January 2015, he has now brought the program to an end.

As a campaigner, Fearnley-Whittingstall’s most effective engagement tool has been to cause outrage among consumers/viewers with regards to certain products and practices and then to name and shame those corporations (usually supermarkets) that contribute to the problem by sourcing the end products. As the United Kingdom’s biggest grocer, Tesco has come into his firing line on a few occasions, so it didn’t come as any great surprise when he wrapped up the final installment by landing a parting blow on the retailer.

Following the first series of Fish Fight in 2011, which highlighted the lack of transparency in canned tuna labeling, Tesco switched its own-brand canned tuna to 100 percent pole-and-line. However, the retailer simultaneously introduced a budget product from tuna brand Oriental & Pacific (O&P), which contains purse seine-caught tuna. It should also be noted that this brand is also sold in Asda stores.

In Hugh’s Last Stand, Fearnley-Whittingstall described the move as “tragic,” saying Tesco doesn’t want its brand to be associated with purse seining but “they still want to sell tuna caught by environmentally unsound methods.” While the retailer had “fulfilled the letter of their obligation,” he questioned where the “spirit of its promise” had gone.

Adding weight to Fish Fight’s criticism, Tesco is also the No. 1 villain in a new damning report from Greenpeace. It has been named the worst ranked supermarket on Greenpeace U.K.’s new “Tinned Tuna League 2014” thanks largely to having O&P tuna on its shelves. The NGO describes the products as “dirty” tuna — a label refuted by the brand’s owner LDH (La Doria) Ltd., but one that has been picked up by Britain’s mainstream media this past week.

In a defending statement, LDH stated that at least 85 percent of the tuna it sells is fished using the pole-and-line method, while “our O&P brand skipjack tuna is caught using the purse seine fishing method, which accounts for 63 percent of all tuna caught around the globe.”

LDH pointed out that “credible scientific research” shows that skipjack stocks are healthy and that all of its tuna suppliers are members of the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) and “support its research-led initiatives for long-term conservation of tuna stocks.”

Nevertheless, Greenpeace has put O&P at the bottom of the league table of tuna brands “because it is sourced unsustainably” and the parent company “has no commitment at all to clean up the brand.”

No doubt Tesco will be glad to see the back of Fish Fight, although with Fearnley-Whittingstall previously taking the supermarket giant to task over its chickens (2009), its executives will be anxiously wondering what the topic of his next offensive will be.

Looking back over the course of Fish Fight, there have been a few things that it hasn’t got right and there has often been a distinct lack of solid scientific evidence in its arguments, but a number of major positives have come out of the project. Not only did it bring the subject of discarding to a broader, pan-European audience, it has also sparked meaningful change in Thailand’s shrimp farming industry, in particular the use of trash fish in some of the feeds.

Thai feed and food giant CP Foods, which was targeted as a leading offender in this regard one year ago in “Fish Fight: Save Our Seas,” is changing its ways, explained Hugh’s Last Stand. Through its “CP Fish Fight Ten-Point Plan,” CP is committed to amongst other things using zero fishmeal from trash fish by 2017, and zero fishmeal altogether by 2021. Furthermore, the company is in the process of establishing a fully-traceable supply chain for some of its feed supply, while government-registered boats are fishing in legal waters using larger mesh sizes.

“We are seeing the biggest prawn company in the world changing its practices,” said Fearnley-Whittingstall, adding that he felt it was a result of consumers putting pressure on supermarkets by Tweeting the message “What are your prawns eating?” to the retailers’ respective Twitter accounts.

“That put pressure on supermarkets, the supermarkets leaned on CP, and now out in Thailand things are changing,” he said.

Like him or loathe him, the seafood industry is probably going to be a lot quieter without Hugh