[ASC-media] Media release: getting tough with ocean bandits

cribb@netspeed.com.au julian.cribb at work.netspeed.com.au
Fri Aug 4 00:50:50 CEST 2006


Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies

MEDIA RELEASE 

August 4, 2006


CALL TO GET TOUGH WITH OCEAN BANDITS

Twenty of the world's leading marine scientists have called for action by
governments to halt the unsustainable plunder of the world's ocean
resources.

In letters to the international journal Science, they call for more
countries to regulate the expanding and currently unsustainable trade in
live fish collected from coral reefs, which threatens the livelihoods of
millions of poor people.

This follows an earlier warning by 15 of the scientists about highly mobile
"roving bandits" who clean out entire fisheries and then move on to the next
resource beyond the reach of local authorities, taking advantage of slack
world trade rules and ineffective fisheries management to sell their
plunder.

The 20 Australian, British, Canadian, Chinese, Dutch, Italian, Swedish and
US researchers are now calling for special attention to be paid to the
fisheries and international trade in coral reef resources.

According to Professor Terry Hughes, Director of the Australian Research
Council's Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, the answer to the
crisis in marine management lies in 
*	extensive market reform
*	use of the precautionary principle
*	establishment of sea property rights, and 
*	the building of multilevel institutions, from local to global, that
can learn from and share each other's experiences in how to successfully
manage natural resources.

 "We are already seeing that the intense targeting of key species by these
mobile roving bandits can seriously destabilize marine systems, causing
unpredictable collapses," he says.

A team led by Cambridge University's Dr Andrea Manica has tracked an
expanding wave of booms and busts in fisheries radiating out from Hong Kong,
a major hub for international trade in live reef fish and other marine
products.  He warns that areas such as the Red Sea, Persian Gulf and Eastern
Pacific are at high risk of similar uncontrolled exploitation.  "Several
countries at the edge of the expanding wave of exploitation have started
management plans and are taking steps to control the live fish trade", he
says.

"The removal of key species like parrot fish - which keep coral reefs free
of weed - impacts the health of the entire reef, especially when the corals
are already stressed by climate change", says Professor David Bellwood, a
senior researcher at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies.

The Napoleon wrasse, a giant reef fish that commonly reaches 2m in length
and lives for more than 30 years, is especially vulnerable. "This is the
first commercial reef fish to be listed on CITES, (the UN Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Species), in response to its vulnerability
to fishing and international trade.  The convention is one of the few with
any teeth for fisheries" says Dr. Yvonne Sadovy, of the University of Hong
Kong.

The scientists say there is now sufficient evidence to conclude that
reforming markets - which have opened up as a result of global trade
liberalization - is an important strategy for controlling roving bandits. 

They argue that regional surveillance is essential to reveal the full extent
of market demand for ocean produce.

"As well as the trial fisheries and live fish management plans that have
been initiated in some places, there are some encouraging signs that
licensing, monitoring and enforcing can be effective at a local scale", says
Prof. Boris Worm from the Dalhousie University.

"Multilevel action, from the local to the international, is needed to
establish institutions that are able to learn from experiences with roving
bandits, develop decision-making skill in an environment of uncertainty and
complexity, and respond quickly to shifts in demand from global markets,"
says Professor Fikret Berkes of the University of Manitoba, Canada.

However, the scientists say, the strongest argument for balancing
international trade and local needs is the social inequity that arises from
the export of the dwindling coral reef resources of developing tropical
nations.

"Once those resources are destroyed and forgotten, it is the local people
who bear the costs of reduced options for future development," they warn.

 
More information:

Terry Hughes
Address: ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook
University, Townsville, Queensland 4811, Australia.
Phone: +61 (0)7 4781 4000, 0429439782
Email:   terry.hughes at jcu.edu.au 

David Bellwood
Address: ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook
University, Townsville, Queensland 4811, Australia.
Phone:    +61 7 4781 4447
Email:   david.bellwood at jcu.edu.au 

Carl Folke
Address: Centre for Transdisciplinary Environmental Research and Department
of Systems Ecology, Stockholm University, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden.
Phone:   +46 (0)8 673 9533
Email: calle at ecology.su.se

Fikret Berkes
Address: Natural Resources Institute, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg,
Manitoba R3T 2N2, Canada.
Phone:  +1 (204) 474 6731
Email:   berkes at cc.umanitoba.ca

Beatrice Crona
Address: Centre for Transdisciplinary Environmental Research and Department
of Systems Ecology, Stockholm University, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden.
Phone: +46 8 161 748
Email: Beatrice at ecology.su.se 

Lance Gunderson
Address: Dept. of Environmental Studies, Emory University, Atlanta GA 30322,
USA.
Phone:    +1 (404) 727 2429
Email:    lgunder at emory.edu 

Heather Leslie
Address: Dept. of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology & The Princeton
Environmental Institute, Princeton University, Princeton NJ 08544, USA.
Phone:    +1 (609) 258 7915 
Email:   hleslie at princeton.edu  

Andrea Manica
Dept of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EJ,
UK.
Phone:  +44 1223 336627
Email: am315 at cam.ac.uk

Jon Norberg
Address: Department of Systems Ecology, Stockholm University, 106 91
Stockholm, Sweden.
Phone:  +46 8 164 916
Email:  jon.norberg at ecology.su.se 

Magnus Nyström
Address: Centre for Transdisciplinary Environmental Research and Department
of Systems Ecology, Stockholm University, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden.
Phone: +46 (0)8 16 44 86
Email:  magnusn at ecology.su.se  

Per Olsson
Address: Centre for Transdisciplinary Environmental Research and Department
of Systems Ecology, Stockholm University, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden.
Phone: +46 8 162 518
Email: per at ctm.su.se  

Henrik Österblom   
Address: Department of Systems Ecology, Stockholm University, 106 91
Stockholm, Sweden.
Phone: +46 8 405 1928
Email: henriko at ecology.su.se; henrik.osterblom at sustainable.ministry.se 

Yvonne Sadovy, Department of Ecology & Biodiversity, University of Hong
Kong, China: 
Email yjsadovy at hku.hk; 
tel: 852-2817-4834

Helen Scales
Dept of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EJ,
UK.
Email: helenscales at cantab.net

Marten Scheffer
Address: Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management Group, Department of
Environmental Sciences, Wageningen University, 6700 DD Wageningen, The
Netherlands. 
Phone: +31 317 484 039
Email: marten.scheffer at wur.nl

Robert Steneck
Address: School of Marine Sciences, University of Maine, Orono, Maine 04469,
USA.
Phone:  +1 (207) 563 3146 ext: 233 (Voice)
Email:     steneck at maine.edu 

Jim Wilson
Address: School of Marine Sciences, University of Maine, Orono, Maine 04469,
USA. 
Phone: +1 (207) 581 4368
Email:  jwilson at maine.edu  

Boris Worm
Address: Biology Department, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H
4J1, Canada.
Phone: +1 (902) 494 2478
Email: bworm at dal.ca  

Jim O'Brien, James Cook University Media Office, 07 4781 4822

http://www.coralcoe.org.au/






More information about the ASC-media mailing list