Marine Aquaculture: Opportunities for Growth

image of Marine Aquaculture book cover from http://images.nap.edu/Marine Aquaculture: Opportunities for Growth (1992) is available, online as a free book (.pdfs), and also can be bought as a hard copy. The big advantage of the .pdf document, apart from the agreeable price, is the ability to search on any word, across the document.

The authors, the Committee on Assessment of Technology and Opportunities for Marine Aquaculture in the United States, and the Marine Board, Commission on Engineering and Technical Systems, National Research Council appear to have completed a comprehensive job – the Table of Contents:

Front Matter i-xii
Executive Summary 1-8
Introduction 9-19
Status of Aquaculture 20-63
Policy Issues 64-91
Environmental Issues 92-115
Engineering and Research 116-157
Information Exchange, Technology Transfer, and Education 158-168
Conclusions and Recommendations 169-177
Bibliography 178-205
Appendix A: Review of World Aquaculture 206-231
Appendix B: Freshwater Aquaculture in the United States 232-240
Appendix C: Federal Marine Aquaculture Policy 241-152
Appendix D: Sociocultural Aspects of Domestic Marine Aquaculture 253-268
Appendix E: Committee Biographies 269-273
Appendix F: Participants in Special Sessions 274-276
Index 277-290

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Abalone Mabe Pearls

image from http://www.danielweisser.de/
Alfred J. Römer has published a report about the pearl cultivation in New Zealand – specifically on the pearls and abalone (Paua – Haliotis iris) cultured by Rainbow Abalone Ltd©, New Plymouth, New Zealand.

From the report:

This sea snail, which grows up to 18 cm in length and 13 cm wide, is the New Zealand representative of some hundred Abalone species found world-wide. Its underwater habitat is from a depth close to the surface to approximately 30 meters, where the water is not only clear and rich on oxygen, but where seaweed grows in larger amounts.

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Sea cucumbers – Bêche-de-mer

image from http://www.reef.crc.org.auSea cucumbers (Bêche-de-mer) are echinoderms – in the class Holothuroidea. They are generally scavengers, feeding on plankton and other organic debris in the bottom sediments. They often found in substantial numbers beneath fish farms. Sea cucumbers are considered delacacies in China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, and Malaysia; and some varieties are respected for their properties as an ingredient in traditional medicines. Sea cucumbers have been called ‘Ginseng of the Sea’.

B.H. Ridzwan, T.C. Leong and S.Z. Idid have published a document entitled The Antinociceptive Effects of Water Extracts from Sea Cucumbers Holothuria leucospilota Brandt, Bohadschia marmorata vitiensis Jaeger and Coelomic Fluid from Stichopus hermanii. This document is not always available – listed here from the web archive. An antinociceptive is an agent for deadening the sense of pain without loss of consciousness – a synonym for analgesic.

In New Zealand, Kimberley Maxwell from NIWA has been investigating the use of sea cucumbers for waste disposer as way to reduce organic waste in aquaculture systems. The polyculture of sea cucumbers could provide aquaculturists with a lucrative added revenue stream – sea cucumbers can command up to $NZ15 (approx $US10) per kg dry weight.

The CSIRO in Australia have been working to ensure the sustainable harvest of sea cucumbers to prevent overfishing while allowing Torres Strait Islanders to benefit from the use of sea cucumber stocks. This is a traditional harvest, according to wikipedia:

To supply the markets of Southern China, Macassan trepangers traded with the Indigenous Australians of Arnhem Land. This Macassan contact with Australia is the first recorded example of trade between the inhabitants of the Australian continent and their Asian neighbours.

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Catalog of Fishes

image from http://www.calacademy.orgThe Catalog of Fishes is searchable, for free, online; courtesy of the California Academy of Sciences. It is also available as three, hardbound books.

The catalog covers more than 53,000 species and subspecies, over 10,000 genera and subgenera, and includes in excess of 16,000 bibliographic references. Entries for species, for example, consist of species/subspecies name, genus, author, date, publication, pages, figures, type locality, location of type specimen(s), current status (with references), family/subfamily, and important publication, taxonomic, or nomenclatural notes. Nearly all original descriptions have been examined, and much effort has gone into determining the location of type specimens.

The Genera are updated from Eschmeyer’s 1990 Genera of Recent Fishes. Both genera and species are listed in a classification using recent taxonomic schemes. Also included are a lengthy list of museum acronyms, an interpretation of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature, and Opinions of the International Commission involving fishes.

The Catalog of Fishes consists of three hardbound volumes of 900-1000 pages each, along with a CD-ROM (not sold seperately). This work is an essential reference for taxonomists, scientific historians, and for any specialist dealing with fishes.

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State of the world fisheries

image from the FOA - http://www.fao.orgIchiro Nomura, Assistant Director-General, FAO Fisheries Department, notes in the forward of The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2004

Developments during the past two years confirm the trends already observed at the end of the 1990s: capture fisheries production is stagnating, aquaculture output is expanding and there are growing concerns with regard to the livelihoods of fishers and the sustainability of commercial catches and the aquatic ecosystems from which they are extracted. The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2004 reports on several of these issues.

It is not only fishers and fish farmers who have these concerns; they are increasingly shared by civil society at large. Moreover, the importance of international trade in fish and fish products, combined with the trend for major fishing and trading companies to operate on a multinational basis, means that such issues are becoming global in nature – affecting a growing number of countries, be they large fish producers or large consumers of fish. It is heartening to note that governments and other stakeholders have begun to collaborate with their neighbours and partners in trade in an effort to find shared solutions.

Concrete examples of positive outcomes of this “globalization of concerns” are the establishment of new regional fishery management organizations and the strengthening of existing ones. It is probable that ongoing discussions among intergovernmental organizations on topics such as trade in endangered aquatic species, the use of subsidies in the fishing industry, and labour standards in fisheries will also result in agreements of overall benefit to world society.

Given the nature and tone of the international discussion on fishery issues and the developments observed during recent years, I believe that fishers and fish farmers, in collaboration with governments and other stakeholders, will overcome the obstacles they face currently and will succeed in ensuring sustainable fisheries and continued supplies of food fish at least at their present levels.

Science magazine (3 November 2006: Vol. 314. no. 5800, pp. 787 – 790 DOI: 10.1126/science.1132294) reported a less bright future: (from the reprint summary)

A Need for a Sea Change
The significance of the ocean’s declining diversity on humanity has been difficult to assess. In a series of meta-analyses, Worm et al. (p. 787; see the news story by Stokstad [a summary, the balance by subscription]) quantify how the loss of marine diversity on local, regional, and global scales has affected the functioning and stability of marine ecosystems, the flow of ecosystem services, and the rise of associated risks to humanity. Similar relationships occur between biodiversity change and ecosystem services at scales ranging from small squaremeter plots to entire ocean basins; this finding implies that small-scale experiments can be used to predict large-scale ocean change. At current rates of diversity loss, this analysis indicates that there will be no more viable fish or invertebrate species available to fisheries by 2050. However, the results also show that the trends in loss of species are still reversible.

The abstract is available, the article is by subscription. New Scientist magazine carry more freely available coverage of the results of Worm’s (et al) research.

Many fisheries scientists have been sceptical of the idea that damage to a few non-fish species could be a threat to major fish stocks. But this study demonstrates, for the first time, that commercial and ecological health go together in the ocean. “Every species matters.”

In a separate article, New Scientist report that striking the balance between the need to conserve wild stocks and economic imperatives continue to challenge policy makers and the fishing industry; leading to some unhappy compromises.

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