SIDEBAR

Fish Farms Are Helping to Fight Hunger

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By Ben Belton, Dave Little and Simon Bush Over the past three decades, the global aquaculture industry has risen from obscurity to become a critical source of food for millions of people. In 1990, only 13 percent of world seafood consumption was farmed; by 2014, aquaculture was providing more than half of the fish consumed directly by human beings. The boom has made farmed fish like shrimp, tilapia and pangasius catfish—imported from countries such as Thailand, China and Vietnam—an increasingly common sight in European and North American supermarkets. As a result, much research on aquaculture has emphasized production for export. This focus has led scholars to question whether aquaculture contributes to the food security of poorer people in producing countries. Many have concluded it does not . Meanwhile, the industry's advocates often emphasize the potential for small-scale farms, mainly growing fish for home consumption, to feed the poor . Farms...
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Unchecked Global Warming Would Have "Catastrophic" Effect on Global Fisheries

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If climate change continues unchecked, fisheries production could decline by as much as 60 percent in parts of the world’s oceans in the coming centuries, according to a new study published in the journal Science, threatening food and economic security. The unrestrained long-term warming that would be caused if nations fail to take action on climate change would flush oceans with cold water from melting ice sheets, the study found, disrupting marine currents and winds. As a result, nutrients would increasingly sink to greater depths, out of reach of most fish species, and plankton growth would decline. These are “cumulative, catastrophic effects that will be increasingly difficult to avoid with delayed reductions in greenhouse gas emissions,” the study says . By 2300, these changes would cause global fishery yields to decline by an average 20 percent. More regionally, areas like the North Atlantic could see reductions of up to 60...
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Before reefs become deserts: Keeping coral healthy in Hawaii

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Many of Hawaii’s once-thriving coral reefs are now struggling to recover from recent extreme coral bleaching caused by rising water temperatures. These periodic increased temperatures combined with coastal runoff, fishing pressure and other impacts are all suspected of contributing to slow reef recovery. As a way of understanding which factors had the biggest impacts on Hawaii’s corals, a group of researchers from the collaborative Ocean Tipping Points project, co-led by Larry Crowder , the Edward Ricketts Provostial Professor of Marine Ecology and Conservation at Stanford’s Hopkins Marine Station and senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment , completed the first-ever comprehensive map of how both humans and natural events influence overall reef health. This new study was published March 1 in PLOS One. “When we jumped into the water in west Hawaii, over half of the coral reef was dead,” said Lisa Wedding, research associate at Stanford’s...
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Billionaire Settlement Funds to Prevent More Reef Damage in Cayman

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Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen settled for undisclosed amount with the Cayman Islands government after his megayacht “Tatoosh” damaged a significant amount of reef in 2016 . Now the funds from that settlement are being used to make sure such an event never happens again. This week, the Cayman Islands Department of Environment installed the first of four megayacht moorings off Grand Cayman’s West Bay. The moorings are being paid for using the money from the Allen settlement and can accommodate yachts of more than 100 feet in length. Installing the mooring is no easy task as it weighs 30,000 pounds and is attached to two-inch thick chain. “We thought it was an appropriate use of the funds from the Tatoosh settlement, to prevent this same type of issue happening again,” Scott Slaybaugh, deputy director of the department, told the Cayman Compass . In just the last month alone, Grand Cayman...
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