I have been super busy these past few weeks catching up at home, writing grant proposals and getting in some quality puppy time and writing grant proposals!! I don’t however want to let the blog I love fall my the wayside.
There have been some pretty big things going on these past few weeks in the marine world:
International Marine Conservation Congress was held in Glasgow and from the sounds of things was pretty interesting. Lots of great talks including on the need for positivity in a sometimes dismal conservation world! With all the bad we need to bring some of the good news to keep people going, to maintain the focus, to just let us all have some happy…Celebrate the SUCCESSES! The new buzzword/term…“OCEAN OPTIMISM”! I like it.
The International Whaling Commission meeting on Climate Change also took place recently. Probably a lot less happy going on here. There are no proceeding out yet but I do fear it was less happy, clappy, good news of a meeting.
We need to act now with conservation actions before we have every single teeny tiny detail. That is the message that Amanda Vincent of the University of British Columbia opened IMCC with. It is true we may never know everything we can ever know when species or habitats are at risk. We have to gather what we know now and put it into action. Sometimes there is just no time to wait. We can keep collecting data but we still need a plan for RIGHT NOW!
“Science matters deeply, but we can’t let ourselves be trapped by the need to gather more data” – Amanda Vincent.
What stories have you been following this week? Let me know in the comments below.
The worlds smallest cetacean (reaching lengths of only 4-5 ft.) and limited to a small home range in Baja, California is in dire straits. The vaquita (Phocoena sinus) is a notoriously shy and difficult to study therefore underwater acoustic technology has been utilised by the International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita to monitor their latest numbers. This study revealed their numbers have dwindled below 100 with an estimate 97 individuals of which only about 25 are reproductive females.
The Vaquita within their protected area. Photo: Paula Olson (NOAA Contractor) taken under permit (Oficio No. DR/488/08)
What is the cause of their decline?
Illegal gillnets fisheries put this species as risk of by-catch and with there numbers so small even the loss of one individuals has detrimental effects on the population as a whole.
The totoaba (Totoaba macdonaldi), a marine fish also indigenous to the region, is the target of the gillnet fisheries. At up to 6 feet in length they are a smilier size to the vaquita. The totoaba is a valued catch as its swim bladder is highly prized in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), meaning that an individual catch can go for thousands of dollars. The high price it fetches at market means that regulations to ban commercials gill net fisheries in key vaquita habitat have been compromised. I think this quote from Lorenzo Rojas-Bracho (Coordinator of Marine Mammal Research and Conservation at the National Institute of Ecology, in Ensenda, Baja California, Mexico) really hits the nail on the head in regards to why fishers are finding it hard to resist fishing for totoaba:
“It’s like trying to control traffic while someone’s throwing money from the Empire State Building,”
Unfortunately I don’t have a big new blog post for you this week as I have been travelling back to London and with all the lack of sleep, jet lag, and puppy love I have not been able to write a post up to completion.
I however have several ideas lined up that will come about next week for you all to read! Some ideas for posts include the following:
More Current and Topical Issues
Data Collection Methods
Hit me up in the comments if there are any Marine Biology, Marine Mammal Science and Conservation Science topics you would love to hear more about! I would also love to hear more tips on keeping focus on last weeks post!
I have also set up a Facebook page for Deep Blue Conversations. You can head over there and join in the conversation, see interesting news and science posts that don’t make it to full blog post formats and get notifications of new posts. So come on over and say “Hello” to Deep Blue Conversations on Facebook! I would love it if you would Like us…!