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Study finds ancient clam beaches not so natural - University Communications - Simon Fraser University
"Casting a large interdisciplinary research net has helped Simon Fraser University archaeologist Dana Lepofsky and 10 collaborators dig deeper into their findings about ancient clam gardens in the Pacific Northwest to formulate new perspectives.

Lepofsky’s research team has discovered that Northwest Coast Indigenous people didn’t make their living just by gathering the natural ocean’s bounty. Rather, from Alaska to Washington, they were farmers who cultivated productive clam gardens to ensure abundant and sustainable clam harvests.

In its new paper published by American Antiquity, Lepofsky’s team describes how it isolated novel ways to date the stone terraces that created clam beaches. These beaches are certainly more than 1,000 years old and likely many thousands of years older. The researchers identified many places where people built gardens on bedrock — creating ideal clam habitats where there were none before. This, the researchers concluded, clearly challenges the notion that First Nations were living in wild, untended environments.

“We think that many Indigenous peoples worldwide had some kind of sophisticated marine management, but the Pacific Northwest is likely one of the few places in the world where this can be documented,” says Lepofsky. “This is because our foreshores are more intact than elsewhere and we can work closely with Indigenous knowledge holders.”

The researchers, who worked with First Nations linguistic data, oral traditions and memories, geomorphological surveys, archaeological techniques and ecological experiments, belong to the Clam Garden Network. It’s a coastal group interested in ancient clam management.

“Understanding ancient marine management is relevant to many current issues,” says Lepofsky.

Her team is comparing clam garden productivity to that of modern aquaculture and assessing whether the shell-rich beaches of clam gardens help buffer against increasing ocean acidification. The team will also build experimental clam gardens, applying many of the traditional cultivation techniques learned from First Nations collaborators as a means of increasing food production and food security today.

This latest study is on the heels of one done a year ago by Lepofsky and her collaborators. The original three-year study published in PLOS ONE found that these ancient gardens produced quadruple the number of butter clams and twice the number of littleneck clams as unmodified clam beaches. It was the first study to provide empirical evidence of the productivity of ancient Pacific Northwest clam gardens and their capacity to increase food production.

The Tula Foundation, Parks Canada, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and Wenner Gren, among other groups, are funding the team’s studies.

Key highlights of new study:

• Northwest Coast Indigenous peoples from Alaska to Washington State managed clam beaches in a variety of ways. These included replanting of small clams and building rock terrace walls at the low-low tide line to create clam gardens.

• Northwest Coast First Nations language terms indicate clam gardens were built in specific places by rolling the rocks for two purposes. One was to create rock-walled terraces ideal for clam growth. Another was to clear the beaches of unwanted rubble that would limit clam habitat.

• The researchers developed novel ways to date the clam gardens and their preliminary excavations revealed that many date to more than 1,000 years ago.

• Working on these clam gardens posed some logistical challenges since many are only visible for about 72 daylight hours per year.

• Extensive air and ground surveys revealed that clam gardens can be found from Alaska to Washington State, but in some places, such as the Gulf Islands, recent rising sea level obscures the rock walls. In some areas, clam gardens made possible the dense ancient First Nations settlements that dot our coastline.

As Canada's engaged university, SFU is defined by its dynamic integration of innovative education, cutting-edge research and far-reaching community engagement. SFU was founded almost 50 years ago with a mission to be a different kind of university—to bring an interdisciplinary approach to learning, embrace bold initiatives, and engage with communities near and far. Today, SFU is a leader amongst Canada's comprehensive research universities and is ranked one of the top universities in the world under 50 years of age. With campuses in British Columbia's three largest cities—Vancouver, Surrey and Burnaby—SFU has eight faculties, delivers almost 150 programs to over 30,000 students, and boasts more than 130,000 alumni in 130 countries around the world."
britishcolumbia  cascadia  firstnations  nativeamericans  2015  clams  clamming  food  fisheries  clamgadens  washingtonstate  alaska  oceans  danalepofsky 
may 2015 by robertogreco
Rebuilding fisheries on a global scale - Africa Geographic
"A UK-based social enterprise helping to rebuild tropical fisheries and fight poverty in Africa has had its work recognised by the biggest award of its sector. Blue Ventures will receive the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, worth US$1.25 million, at a ceremony in Oxford on Thursday (16th April 2015) for its work supporting coastal communities on the Indian Ocean in Madagascar to manage their marine resources sustainably."
fishing  commercialfishing  sustainability  fisheries  africa  2015  blueventures 
may 2015 by robertogreco
The Fisherman’s Dilemma - The California Sunday Magazine
"Off the coast of California, a radical experiment has closed hundreds of miles of ocean to fishing. Will it lead to better catches for years to come?"

"Maricich’s decision to throw in his lot with fish counters rather than catchers is in part economic, but it also stems from one truth that in a backdoor kind of way unites fishermen and conservationists: After all the closures and commissions, all the surveys and reappraisals, the ocean is still deeply mysterious. In the 1970s and 1980s, a profound knowledge deficit led to a policy of killing fish first and asking questions later. In the 2000s, the corrective — to close fishing grounds first and ask questions later — has been equally burdened by the problem of the vastness of the ocean.

Which was why the research Tim Maricich has been doing with the Nature Conservancy over the past three years is so important. It suggests that the regulatory overhaul and the federal and state closures are working. “We’re pretty consistently finding species like the yelloweye rockfish, which are deemed overfished,” the Nature Conservancy’s Mary Gleason told me. “That suggests that the formal stock assessments are probably underestimating their abundance and that the Rockfish Conservation Areas are probably contributing to their rebuilding. We’re seeing big schools of fish — widow rockfish, chilipepper rockfish. It’s gotten the fishermen pretty excited. They’re hoping some of this data might support opening up some of the closed areas.”"

"A decade later, the first comprehensive results are starting to emerge from scuba surveys. Jenn Caselle, a research biologist also from the University of California at Santa Barbara, has logged thousands of dive hours in the same cold water and kelp I experienced in Monterey. She’s found a noticeable change there, particularly around Anacapa Island, where I was now fishing. “The important message from the Channel Islands over ten years,” she says, “is that the fish inside the reserves are increasing. But here’s the key point. The populations of many fished species outside the reserves are also increasing — not as fast, but they’re increasing. This is really important because it was feared that the redistribution of fishing effort could cause scorched earth outside the reserves. That’s not happening.”"

"Evidence like Caselle’s isn’t good enough for some critics. Ray Hilborn, a professor of aquatic and fisheries science at the University of Washington who’s frequently cited by fishermen as a counterweight to the “enviros,” claims there’s no evidence that the sanctuaries are having a comprehensive effect. Hilborn had taken part in the establishment of California marine reserves and found the science guidelines lacking in academic rigor. “If they had done it correctly,” he says, “there would have been adequate control groups, like with any experiment. They would have set up three reserves and three non-reserves and then compared the fish in each after five and then ten years.”

But Caselle argues that a control for an experiment the size of the Channel Islands network is an impossibility. “The hypothesis is that the total effect of a network is greater than the sum of its parts,” she says. “But that is very difficult to measure. That would require having another region that is similar in all ways to Southern California but without marine protected areas. Essentially, there are no controls for entire networks.” In other words, the entire California approach to linking its fragmented coast is a leap of faith. A leap of faith where the default is not fishing instead of fishing."

"Were all these fish the result of the reserve? Or was it just a good day, as can happen, even when there aren’t that many fish around? It cannot yet be scientifically documented. Since many fish that are specifically protected by the reserves, like rockfish, can live many dozens of years, it may be a long time until we know the extent to which reserves populate other fishing grounds. By the end of the day, when the mate cleaned our catch and the dozen-odd fishermen aboard the Cobra all had a bag or two of fillets to show, there seemed to be a grudging feeling that the Channel Islands experiment had shifted something. As we motored back to port, a retired chef who’d been fishing next to me muttered, “I’ll tell you what, if it wasn’t for these closures, there wouldn’t be any fish at all.”

This thought stayed with me as I made my way to the airport. After boarding a plane I checked my phone before shutting it down for the trip back east. Atop the headlines was the news that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration had closed the entirety of the East Coast from Provincetown, Massachusetts, to the Canadian border to both commercial and sport cod fishing —  at least until May, in an effort to reverse declining fish populations in the Gulf of Maine. These were grounds I’d helped deplete over the past decade. After the latest stock assessment it was revealed that cod had dipped to an even lower level than had previously been assumed. The remaining stocks from Cape Cod to the Gulf of Maine, a population upon which colonial New England built its economy, were now reported to be between 3 and 4 percent of what would be required to have a sustainable fishery.

As I considered this news, I thought how the fishermen of California might have avoided a similar fate. The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program recently surveyed the range of fisheries off California and moved many of the state’s groundfish species off its red “Avoid” list. In the decades ahead, commercial fishermen might enjoy rebuilt runs of rockfish and lingcod, surging runs of white sea bass and squid, all of them dashing through the regrown kelp in pursuit of sardines and anchovies that are also, apparently, on the rebound.

With the spring migrations coming on, the usual time I’d head to Gloucester for cod, I thought about what I might do instead. Was there something else I could fish? Maybe mackerel would swing through our waters as they once did in my youth but now only do on occasion. Maybe the blackfish would make an appearance if they hadn’t been hit too hard by lobstermen whose Long Island Sound lobster had grown scarce. Or maybe I’ll just hang it up and not fish at all this season."

[See also: ]
paulgreenberg  coreyarnold  california  fisheries  fishing  commercialfishing  2015  oceans  pacificocean  montereybay  timmaricich  natureconservancy  conservation  rayhilborn  stevegaines  jenncaselle  aancapaisland  channelislands  environmentalism  economics 
march 2015 by robertogreco
No Panaceas! Elinor Ostrom Talks with Fran Korten - Shareable
"Fran: Many people associate “the commons” with Garrett Hardin’s famous essay, “The Tragedy of the Commons.” He says that if, for example, you have a pasture that everyone in a village has access to, then each person will put as many cows on that land as he can to maximize his own benefit, and pretty soon the pasture will be overgrazed and become worthless. What’s the difference between your perspective and Hardin’s?

Elinor: Well, I don’t see the human as hopeless. There’s a general tendency to presume people just act for short-term profit. But anyone who knows about small-town businesses and how people in a community relate to one another realizes that many of those decisions are not just for profit and that humans do try to organize and solve problems.

If you are in a fishery or have a pasture and you know your family’s long-term benefit is that you don’t destroy it, and if you can talk with the other people who use that resource, then you may well figure out rules that fit that local setting and organize to enforce them. But if the community doesn’t have a good way of communicating with each other or the costs of self-organization are too high, then they won’t organize, and there will be failures.

Fran: So, are you saying that Hardin is sometimes right?

Elinor: Yes. People say I disproved him, and I come back and say “No, that’s not right. I’ve not disproved him. I’ve shown that his assertion that common property will always be degraded is wrong.” But he was addressing a problem of considerable significance that we need to take seriously. It’s just that he went too far. He said people could never manage the commons well.

At the Workshop we’ve done experiments where we create an artificial form of common property such as an imaginary fishery or pasture, and we bring people into a lab and have them make decisions about that property. When we don’t allow any communication among the players, then they overharvest [the commons]. But when people can communicate, particularly on a face-to-face basis, and say, “Well, gee, how about if we do this? How about we do that?” Then they can come to an agreement.

Fran: But what about the “free-rider” problem where some people abide by the rules and some people don’t? Won’t the whole thing fall apart?

Elinor: Well if the people don’t communicate and get some shared norms and rules, that’s right, you’ll have that problem. But if they get together and say, “Hey folks, this is a project that we’re all going to have to contribute to. Now, let’s figure it out,” they can make it work. For example, if it’s a community garden, they might say, “Do we agree every Saturday morning we’re all going to go down to the community garden, and we’re going to take roll and we’re going to put the roll up on a bulletin board?” A lot of communities have figured out subtle ways of making everyone contribute, because if they don’t, those people are noticeable.

Fran: So public shaming and public honoring are one key to managing the commons?

Elinor: Shaming and honoring are very important. We don’t have as much of an understanding of that. There are scholars who understand that, but that’s not been part of our accepted way of thinking about collective action."

"Fran: Do you have a message for the general public?

Elinor: We need to get people away from the notion that you have to have a fancy car and a huge house. Some of the homes that have been built in the last 10 years just appall me. Why do humans need huge homes? I was born poor and I didn’t know you bought clothes at anything but the Goodwill until I went to college. Some of our mentality about what it means to have a good life is, I think, not going to help us in the next 50 years. We have to think through how to choose a meaningful life where we’re helping one another in ways that really help the Earth."

[via: ]
elinorostrom  2010  economics  behavior  longterm  slow  community  communities  communication  organizing  business  problemsolving  fisheries  environment  sustainability  cooperation  collaboration  garretthardin  frankorten  collectivism  commons  landmanagement  governance  resourcemanagement  robertnetting  freeriding  freeriders 
february 2015 by robertogreco
The Official Website of Virunga National Park - The Virunga Alliance
"Born of a Congolese commitment to the protection of Virunga National Park, the Virunga Alliance aims to foster peace and prosperity through the responsible economic development of natural resources for four million people who live within a day’s walk of the park’s borders.

A minimum of 30% of the park’s revenues is invested in community development projects. These projects are defined by the community and are based on the principle of free and informed consultation with civil society groups.

Virunga Alliance is the intersection of civil society, private sector and state institutions working together toward sustainable development goals in eastern Congo. Virunga Alliance will deliver large-scale opportunities to tens of thousands of Congolese men and women who are ready to rebuild the region and redefine the country’s future.

We propose a three-phase approach and identify four main sectors for development, including Energy, Tourism, Agro-Industry, Sustainable Fisheries, and Infrastructure."
virunga  parks  africa  congo  drc  sustainability  fisheries  agriculture  tourism  energy  infrastructure  economics  development 
january 2015 by robertogreco
BLDGBLOG: Backyard Aquaculture
"A passing comment on the previous post has me thinking that a fantastic, Pruned-inspired summer architectural studio could be organized around the idea of turning backyard swimming pools not into mausoleum-like, subterranean granny flats, but experimental fish farms and hatcheries, alternative-energy algae-breeding ponds and other avant-garde aquacultural installations. Architecture as artificial ecosystem. Could you reimagine the food production infrastructure of a city through the aquacultural transformation of its backyard swimming pools?"

[more here: ]
architecture  aquaculture  fisheries  bldgblog  swimmingpools  repurposing  superlocal  food  infrastructure  cities  homes 
december 2008 by robertogreco
Empty Oceans Series |
"Today, fish stocks are disappearing and undersea ecosystems are changing in ways that raise alarm. How did this happen? And what must be done to reverse these trends and sustain life in the world's seas?"
oceans  environment  world  sustainability  history  fisheries  trends  international  global 
june 2008 by robertogreco

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