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Isabelle Côté
Isabelle Côté
Randall Peterman
Randall Peterman

Researchers to study ocean health

January 7, 2010

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The Royal Society of Canada has appointed 10 scientists—two of them from SFU—to an independent panel charged with studying the health of Canada’s oceans.

Biology professor Isabelle Côté and Randall Peterman, a professor and Canada Research Chair in fisheries risk assessment and management, will be part of an independent panel that will focus on issues related to climate change, overfishing and marine biodiversity.

"We have the longest ocean coastline in the world. Knowing how climate change is affecting marine populations and resources should therefore be essential for us," says Côté.

Côté has pioneered the use of meta-analysis in marine conservation ecology—a technique for understanding the bigger picture by combining all available scientific data. She used the method to discover an 80-per-cent decline in the coral cover of Caribbean reefs (as published in Science). In an earlier study of coral-reef fisheries she was among researchers who found that more than half of coral island fisheries were being exploited unsustainably.

Peterman, who co-chaired an earlier Royal Society panel (1996-98) related to oceans, hopes this new approach "will highlight for decision makers and the public the value of protecting our oceans."

"The contributions of Canada’s oceans to the health and well-being of Canadians is under-appreciated," says Peterman, noting that oceans face "enormous challenges from many sources, among them, climate change and the loss of marine biodiversity."

The Royal Society panel’s report is expected in 2012.

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Hal Weinberg

You might want to hook up with the Pacific Orca Society - I am on the Board.

Cheers

Hal Weinberg

Dr. P.G. (Peter ) Wells

I was interested to learn of this Royal Society initiative, being an Environment Canada coastal scientist (now retired) and active as an Adjunct Professor and Oceans Fellow at Dalhousie University. I have contributed to or authored a number of publications on the health of the oceans, for the UN, Canada, and Canada/US. Can I be of assistance to this worthwhile new project?

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