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Sustainable Ocean Solutions
updated: Jun 28, 2012, 2:02 PM
How will Cuba's increasing prospects for trade, and tourism, impact its ocean
areas and the fish that populate them? Will its sea life suffer overexploitation
in the name of commerce and recreation? Will its fishermen lose income, or jobs,
as fish stocks deplete?
A still-young project born at UC Santa Barbara is considering such questions,
developing solutions to the problems facing fisheries and other ocean uses on
Cuba and other countries around the world -- and teaching affected communities
how to use them. A new grant is providing momentum toward that goal.
On the heels of a similar-sized grant a year ago, the Waitt Foundation has
awarded $500,000 to an interdisciplinary partnership of two UCSB entities -- the
Bren School of Environmental Science & Management and the Marine Science
Institute (MSI) -- known as the Sustainable Fisheries Group (SFG). The money is
earmarked for an ongoing project, Sustainable Ocean Solutions (SOS), which first
launched in 2011 with a $400,000 award from the ocean-focused foundation
established by Gateway Inc. founder Ted Waitt.
"The Waitt Foundation is our core support -- our biggest, overarching support,"
said SFG research and program manager Sarah Lester, a project scientist at MSI
and Bren. "Their funding allows us to tie together all the pieces of what we do,
which is so crucial."
With ongoing initiatives in the Galapagos Islands, Cuba, Bermuda, Indonesia, and
California, among other locations, SOS is employing ocean management,
conservation, and sustainability practices, in unison, to protect -- even
bolster -- the health of such vulnerable low-volume fisheries worldwide.
An interdisciplinary consortium of scientists, ecologists, and economists, the
group is also teaming with governments, non-governmental organizations (NGO's),
conservationists, and stakeholders including fishermen's unions. Together they
are blending academic research and development with real-time projects on the
water to design -- and implement -- such solutions as fisheries rights, also
known as catch shares; marine-protected areas and spatial management, or zoning;
as well as seafood sustainability ratings and other supply-chain initiatives.
"Any one of those things might have some positive effect, though small, but by
combining them we can enhance the sustainability, we argue, of essentially any
fishery in the world," said principal investigator Christopher Costello, a
professor of environmental and resource economics at the Bren School, who
credits a conversation with Waitt himself for the conception of SOS. "The Waitt
Foundation is incredibly supportive of that approach. Ted Waitt is actively
involved, and really engaged with the work. He is a tremendous champion of the
oceans and has been an outstanding partner."
On the Galapagos Islands, SOS is cooperating with local officials to assess
their lobster and sea cucumber fisheries, and to design a spatial management
program, including a marine-protected area, that promotes conservation without
downgrading the economic viability of the region's valuable tourism industry.
Zoning is also central to their efforts on Bermuda and Cuba. As the latter
nation slowly opens up to trade and begins to see an influx of tourism, the
potential degradation of its marine resources is of "serious concern," according
"There are two big dangers here," he said. "From a conservation perspective, the
whole ecosystem in some cases relies on a species that is being overexploited.
Then there are the people that catch the fish. In many places we work,
communities have relied on fishing for thousands of years, but if it's
overexploited and there are no fish to catch, there are serious implications for
local food security, and for livelihoods."
"We're at an important juncture," Lester concurred. "Some of these problems are
getting worse, but we are actively developing novel tools to help solve them.
The work that we're doing suggests that a lot of fisheries are in trouble, but
we have a good sense of things that need to be done to fix those problems. We
are cautiously optimistic."
Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)
2012-06-29 09:54 AM
For decades UCSB has overlooked the pumping of only partially treated human waste into Goleta Bay via a big poopoo pipe. Retaining dilution as the solution this far into the 21st Century is excellent evidence that most academic personnel devoted to environmental health within UCSB ivory towers overlooking Goleta Bay are opportunistic poseurs. UCSB is rendered a worse than worthless liability when it propagandizes only an appearance of virtue while contributing largely to the disgusting dumping in the sea of the local population's daily defecations.
Foul fecal fumes from the other excrement plant wafting over on the night and morning land breeze to precipitate on UCSB and it's personnel are a reminder that UCSB is unacceptably unaccountable.
This long-ignored outrage of pollution is an issue where UCSB could make a positive contribution to a community where it abuses enormous unaccountable power.
2012-06-29 11:37 AM
I don't think you have a good grasp on what is "excellent evidence", especially since your conclusion from it is patently false. When it comes to being opportunistic and posing, I see a lot of projection.
2012-06-29 01:17 PM
I'd love to see UCSB offer its expertise to the City to make the Turd Refuge a better natural environment. Plenty of student labor and brain power available for the ASKING. (Hello City?)
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