Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Learning from the history of marine use to shape future ocean policies

28.11.2013
For 13 years scientists from around the world have been conducting research on the history of marine resource exploitation in the “History of Marine Animal Populations” project (HMAP).

Recently, Science Europe presented an award to the large-scale project in recognition of its high social impact. Kathleen Schwerdtner Máñez, social scientist at the ZMT, is a member of the group managing the project.

With the award, Science Europe, an association of European Research Performing Organisations (RPO) and Research Funding Organisations (RFO), highlights the particular significance of the research carried out in the HMAP project. Marine ecological history provides important insights that can shape decision-making in coastal and fisheries management, as is the case with the work of the Leibniz Center for Tropic Marine Ecology (ZMT) in the Indonesian Spermonde Archipelago. There Schwerdtner Máñez and her colleagues are investigating how the use of marine resources has changed over the centuries and has also altered the ecological balance of the coral reefs in Spermonde.

Historical sources provide researchers with important information about the progressive overexploitation of the archipelago which has taken place since the 18th century. In rapid succession the local fishermen and traders exploited different resources. “The reasons: a new place where another catch could be made, a new technique promising to bring more profit and finally a change to another species when international market demand shifted or the previous species targeted by the fishermen ultimately disappeared,” said Schwerdtner Máñez, describing the patterns of action. In her opinion, a key problem is that the intervals keep getting shorter until the respective species is ultimately decimated.

For many centuries sea cucumbers were the most sought-after catch, because they are considered to be an aphrodisiac in Southeast Asia. Towards the end of the 20th century they were succeeded by the humphead wrasse, which since then has virtually disappeared from large parts of the archipelago. Then the focus shifted to reef bass. Like the wrasse they are especially popular in Hong Kong’s gourmet restaurants. Since 2012 moray eels have been a lucrative catch, even though they are actually considered unfit for consumption. The serpentine fish accumulate a toxin via the food chain and are therefore usually inedible, but they are used in traditional Chinese medicine. Since the late 1990s certain species of coral, such as the tree-like branched bamboo coral, have been collected and sold for the aquarium and jewellery trade.

“There are two main factors that have driven this rapid exploitation,” Schwerdtner Máñez explained. With technical developments such as compressor diving, fishermen could penetrate into deeper reef areas. Since World War II explosives have been increasingly used in fisheries. However, a patron system, which is widespread in this region as well as in many Asian and African countries, is also a key factor. The fishermen work for middlemen known as patrons that provide them with a kind of social security. The patrons are well connected, open up the international markets for the fishermen and provide them with the necessary financial resources and equipment for fishing.

“The historical perspective opens our eyes to underlying patterns of action,” Schwerdtner Máñez said. “This may result in specific recommendations for the coastal management.” Accordingly, the use of resources should be regulated – and in advance. Until now regulations have only been adopted – if at all – when it was almost too late for a specific species.

As member of the project management team of the HMAP, the Bremen researcher wants to set new accents in historical ecological research. “For example, until now little was known about the different roles men and women play in the history of the use of marine resources,” she said. “We researchers tend to speak to the heads of the household, the fishermen who go to sea.” The women often fish and gather in other ecological niches and with other techniques. They may also contribute significantly to the overexploitation of marine resources. Here Schwerdtner Máñez sees a clear need for further research.

More information:

Dr. Kathleen Schwerdtner Máñez
Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology
Tel: 0421 / 23800 – 82
Email: kathleen.schwerdtner@zmt-bremen.de

Dr. Susanne Eickhoff | idw
Further information:
http://www.zmt-bremen.de

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Upcycling of PET Bottles: New Ideas for Resource Cycles in Germany
25.06.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Betriebsfestigkeit und Systemzuverlässigkeit LBF

nachricht Dry landscapes can increase disease transmission
20.06.2018 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Subaru Telescope helps pinpoint origin of ultra-high energy neutrino

16.07.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Barium ruthenate: A high-yield, easy-to-handle perovskite catalyst for the oxidation of sulfides

16.07.2018 | Life Sciences

New research calculates capacity of North American forests to sequester carbon

16.07.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>