Based on the current trajectory of human-induced impacts on the environment, it is clear that we are pushing the oceans and marine ecosystems to unprecedented limits. Environmental changes in ocean properties have led to an array of ecological responses, from shifts in the composition of the ocean’s phytoplankton to changing distributions of fish species.
Climate change could affect temperatures all over the world, but what may not be immediately apparent is that climate change will affect ocean temperatures. If CO2 emission rates do not change, the average sea surface temperature is expected to increase by 2 to 3.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. This may not seem like much, but it would impact oceans in many ways, making them quite different from how they are today.
From November 20 to December 11, leaders from more than 195 countries will meet in Paris to discuss the future of the planet. But will oceans be on the agenda?
COP21, the “Conference of Parties”, is the 21st United Nations Conference on Climate Change. It is being hyped as the most important climate event since COP15 in Copenhagen, which produced the Copenhagen Accord — a political agreement that was deemed by many to be unsuccessful. Here Yoshitaka Ota, Nereus Director (Policy), and William Cheung, Nereus Director (Science), discuss whether these negotiations will be successful, what’s at stake for the future of the world’s oceans, and what else can be done to mitigate the effects of climate change.
by Andrés M. Cisneros-Montemayor
In A Sand County Almanac, the landmark book on wilderness, ecology, and conservation, we are offered a short anecdote regarding a changing environment:
“I had a bird dog named Gus. When Gus couldn’t find pheasants he worked up an enthusiasm for Sora rails and meadowlarks. This whipped-up zeal for unsatisfactory substitutes masked his failure to find the real thing. It assuaged his inner frustration.” – Aldo Leopold (1949).
Ask an Expert: What impacts will the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) have on the trade of fish and seafood?
On October 5th, twelve countries reached an agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which would create the world’s largest free-trade zone. The countries involved — Canada, Japan, the USA, Brunei, Chile, New Zealand, Singapore, Mexico, Vietnam, Australia, Peru and Malaysia — represent 40 percent of the world’s economy. The TPP would see tariffs on fish and seafood being eliminated, allowing for potentially more exports and imports between partnering countries, and new environmental and labour standards put in place.
By Lisa Maria Dellmuth, Senior Nereus Fellow
Stockholm Resilience Centre
It is common practice among Western democratic societies to supply art and cultural goods on a public basis. This practice has led many politicians to view art and culture as political instruments in promoting pro-environmental norms. A prime example is the current debate in Europe about whether state involvement in art and culture implies that cultural activities should advocate the idea of ecologically sustainable development.
Godzilla. Bruce Lee. The names for this year’s El Nino are growing, as are the fears that this might be the biggest one yet. But what is an El Nino and what effects do they have on oceans and fisheries?
Ryan Rykaczewski, Nereus Program alumni and assistant professor at the University of South Carolina, focuses his research on the responses of ecosystem and fisheries production to past and future climate variability and climate change and has published on the impacts of past El Ninos. Here he explains the basics of El Ninos and why this upcoming one could have destructive impacts on ocean ecosystems, fisheries, and fish and mammal species.
by Mathieu Colléter, Nereus Fellow
I had the great opportunity of spending the last three weeks in France to attend two conferences: the 12th French fisheries scientists’ symposium in Montpellier, and “Our Common Future under Climate Change” scientific conference in Paris (CFCC). This was an insightful experience, and since this is my debut performance in the universe of blogging, I would like to share this by highlighting some of the main aspects of the presentations delivered in the beautiful city of Paris.
by Muhammed Oyinlola, Nereus Fellow
Unknowingly to us, we leave remnant wherever we go, a footprint to tell others that “I was here”, the café shop mug with our fingerprint, the lady at the supermarket with our smile, our precious advise to our colleague at work, or our quest to solve other people’s problems (let’s focus on our good sides). However, we do create some problems intentionally or unintentionally. One thing is for sure — we will definitely leave part of us behind, either good or bad.
By Vatosoa Rakotondrazafy, Madagascar
Full immersion in the field of small-scale fisheries for three days, networking with worldwide fisheries experts, coming across old friends from the University of British Columbia, and making new friends, this is what the Centre for Maritime Research (MARE) conference 2015 was all about for me. I attended this conference in Amsterdam from June 24 to 26.