Bethune seminars continue with lecture on fish piracy

11am update: After this issue of YFile was distributed, speaker Metuzals cancelled her appearance due to illness. For information about future lectures, see the Bethune College site. Here is the original story.

The days of Long John Silver may be long past, but the problem of piracy continues. Today’s modern pirates include a voracious sort who are plundering the oceans for fish, placing many undersea populations at risk of extinction. Huge trawlers sweep the ocean clean of its aquatic life, causing a deep upset in the ecological balance. The damage to fish and shellfish populations may be permanent.

During the past few decades, the international community has become increasingly aware of the growing number of unlawful and irresponsible fishing activities within national jurisdictions and on the high seas. These activities, commonly referred to as illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fisheries, threaten the sustainability of capture fisheries around the world.

Kaija Metuzals, a global expert on fish piracy, will deliver the next lecture in the 2005 – 2006 Science and Society Seminars hosted by Bethune College. Metuzals is a marine biologist based in Ottawa and a leading expert on the biological and ecological impact of overfishing and fish piracy. Her lecture will take place on Thursday, Feb. 2, from 4:30 to 6pm in room 102, Accolade East Building, on York’s Keele campus.

In her presentation titled, “Fish Piracy, or IUU: What is it, and what can be done about it?”, Metuzals will explore the illegal, unreported and unregulated fisheries in both Canadian and international contexts. She has worked with government policy makers, local fishers and fellow biologists, as well as conservation and advocacy groups such as the World Wildlife Fund. Metuzals’ most recent work involves analyzing distortions and misreporting in fishery data in order to understand how quota systems for fishing really work. Her research is part of an ongoing and politically charged debate about evaluating the human impact on the oceans and managing its resources.

Bethune College’s Science and Society Seminar Series is an annual event at York University. The series presents seminars by visiting speakers on a scientific topic of broad public interest with the purpose of promoting discussion between students and faculty from different disciplines both within the University and beyond.

This year’s series focuses on the topic, “Oceans: The Life Around Us”. The current scientific interest in exploring the deep oceans stems from several roots: climate change research, physical oceanography, marine biology and ecosystem modelling. At the same time, the oceans are also increasingly the focus of critical environmental and political concerns.

All talks in the series are open to the University community and the public. For more information, visit the Bethune College Web site.