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Publications 2012

Authors in bold are/were staff or students of the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science and its founding organization, the Pew Institute for Ocean Science


Pikitch, E.K. (2012, November 26) The Risks of Overfishing. Science. 338: 474-475.

Description:

In a Perspectives article, “The Risks of Overfishing,” published in the October 26, 2012 issue of the journal Science, Dr. Ellen K. Pikitch, the Institute’s executive director, cautions against continuing traditional fisheries management.

For more information please visit the Science Web site: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/short/338/6106/474

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Pikitch, E.K. (2012, November 1). Little Fish in a Big Pond. The Scientist, 25.

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Pikitch E.K., Rountos, K.J., Essington, T.E., Santora, C., Pauly, D., Watson, R., Sumaila, U.R., Boersma, P.D., Boyd, I.L., Conover, D.O., Cury, P., Heppell, S.S., Houde, E.D., Mangel, M., Plagány, É., Sainsbury, K., Steneck, R.S., Geers, T.M., Gownaris, N., Munch, S.B. 2012. The global contribution of forage fish to marine fisheries and ecosystems. FISH and FISHERIES. September 5.

Abstract
Forage fish play a pivotal role in marine ecosystems and economies worldwide by sustaining many predators and fisheries directly and indirectly. We estimate global forage fish contributions to marine ecosystems through a synthesis of 72 published Ecopath models from around the world. Three distinct contributions of forage fish were examined: (i) the ecological support service of forage fish to predators in marine ecosystems, (ii) the total catch and value of forage fisheries and (iii) the support service of forage fish to the catch and value of other commercially targeted predators. Forage fish use and value varied and exhibited patterns across latitudes and ecosystem types. Forage fish supported many kinds of predators, including fish, seabirds, marine mammals and squid. Overall, forage fish contribute a total of about $16.9 billion USD to global fisheries values annually, i.e. 20% of the global ex-vessel catch values of all marine fisheries combined. While the global catch value of forage fisheries was $5.6 billion, fisheries supported by forage fish were more than twice as valuable ($11.3 billion). These estimates provide important information for evaluating the trade-offs of various uses of forage fish across ecosystem types, latitudes and globally. We did not estimate a monetary value for supportive contributions of forage fish to recreational fisheries or to uses unrelated to fisheries, and thus the estimates of economic value reported herein understate the global value of forage fishes.

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Pikitch, Ellen K. (2012, August-September) Cutback of small fish catches will yield big gains. Environment Industry Magazine, 63-65.

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Doukakis, P., Pikitch, E.K., Rothschild, D., Rob, A., Amato, G., Kolokotronis, S. 2012. Testing the effectiveness of an international conservation agreement: marketplace forensics and CITES caviar trade regulation. PLoS ONE, 7(7).

Abstract
Background: The international wildlife trade is a key threat to biodiversity. Temporal genetic marketplace monitoring can determine if wildlife trade regulation efforts such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) are succeeding. Protected under CITES effective 1997, sturgeons and paddlefishes, the producers of black caviar, are flagship CITES species.

Methodology/Principal Findings: We test whether CITES has limited the amount of fraudulent black caviar reaching the marketplace. Using mitochondrial DNA-based methods, we compare mislabeling in caviar and meat purchased in the New York City area pre and post CITES listing. Our recent sampling of this market reveals a decrease in mislabeled caviar (2006–2008; 10%; n = 90) compared to pre-CITES implementation (1995–1996; 19%; n = 95). Mislabeled caviar was found only in online purchase (n = 49 online/41 retail).

Conclusions/Significance: Stricter controls on importing and exporting as per CITES policies may be having a positive conservation effect by limiting the amount of fraudulent caviar reaching the marketplace. Sturgeons and paddlefishes remain a conservation priority, however, due to continued overfishing and habitat degradation. Other marine and aquatic species stand to benefit from the international trade regulation that can result from CITES listing.

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Pikitch, E.K., Boersma, P.D., Boyd, I.L., Conover, D.O., Cury, P., Essington, T. E., Heppell, S.S., Houde, E.D., Mangel, M., Pauly, D., Plagányi, É., Sainsbury, K., Steneck, R.S. 2012. Little Fish, Big Impact: Managing a Crucial Link in Ocean Food Webs. Lenfest Ocean Program. Washington, DC. 108 pp. April.

Brief Summary

Forage fish are small to medium-sized species that include anchovies, herring, menhaden, and sardines. Direct catch of forage fish makes up more than one-third of the world’s marine fish catch and has contributed to the collapse of some forage fish populations. In the most comprehensive global analysis of forage fish management to date, the Lenfest Forage Fish Task Force found that conventional management can be risky for forage fish because it does not adequately account for their wide population swings and high catchability. It also fails to capture the critical role of forage fish as food for marine mammals, seabirds, and commercially important fish such as tuna, salmon, and cod. The report recommends cutting catch rates in half in many ecosystems and doubling the minimum biomass of forage fish that must be left in the water, compared to conventional management targets. Even more stringent measures are advised when important biological information is missing.

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Bond, M.E., Babcock, E.A., Pikitch, E.K., Abercrombie, D.L., Lamb, N.F., Chapman, D.D. 2012. Reef sharks exhibit site-fidelity and higher relative abundance in marine reserves on the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. PLoS ONE, March 8.

Abstract
Carcharhinid sharks can make up a large fraction of the top predators inhabiting tropical marine ecosystems and have declined in many regions due to intense fishing pressure. There is some support for the hypothesis that carcharhinid species that complete their life-cycle within coral reef ecosystems, hereafter referred to as “reef sharks”, are more abundant inside no-take marine reserves due to a reduction in fishing pressure (i.e., they benefit from marine reserves). Key predictions of this hypothesis are that (a) individual reef sharks exhibit high site-fidelity to these protected areas and (b) their relative abundance will generally be higher in these areas compared to fished reefs. To test this hypothesis for the first time in Caribbean coral reef ecosystems we combined acoustic monitoring and baited remote underwater video (BRUV) surveys to measure reef shark site-fidelity and relative abundance, respectively. We focused on the Caribbean reef shark (Carcharhinus perezi), the most common reef shark in the Western Atlantic, at Glover's Reef Marine Reserve (GRMR), Belize. Acoustically tagged sharks (N=34) were detected throughout the year at this location and exhibited strong site-fidelity. Shark presence or absence on 200 BRUVs deployed at GRMR and three other sites (another reserve site and two fished reefs) showed that the factor "marine reserve" had a significant positive effect on reef shark presence. We rejected environmental factors or site-environment interactions as predominant drivers of this pattern. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that marine reserves can benefit reef shark populations and we suggest new hypotheses to determine the underlying mechanism(s) involved: reduced fishing mortality or enhanced prey availability.

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