UWA Oceans Institute

A successful synthesis with sustainable seafood

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Oceans Institute researchers, PhD candidate Jordan Goetze and Dr Tim Langlois took sustainability to a wholesome new level at a food security workshop in Albany earlier this year.

Traditional conservation measures, such as local ‘Tabus’ - areas periodically closed to fishing - have typically been the sole approach to fisheries management in the tropical western Pacific.  Earlier this year, at a synthesis workshop organised by The University of Western Australia’s Oceans Institute researchers Jordan Goetze and Dr Tim Langlois, a team of international experts met in Albany to find out how effective these areas actually are in providing Pacific Island communities with long-term food security.

The UWA Oceans Institute offers funding for synthesis projects, aimed at hosting workshops that produce publications in high impact journals. PhD student Jordan Goetze and supervisor Dr Tim Langlois seized this opportunity to run a workshop aimed at assessing the effectiveness of periodically harvested closures (PHCs) as a fisheries management strategy. To achieve this a meta-analytical approach was needed to synthesize results from all available studies worldwide. To assist in the project Jordan and Tim invited renowned scientists, Dr Joachim Claudet (CNRS France), Dr Crow White (Cal Poly USA), Dr Stacy Jupiter (WCS Fiji), Dr Rebecca Weeks (JCU Australia), Dr Shaun Wilson (DPaW Australia) and Dr Fraser Januchowski-Hartley (University of Exeter UK) to join them, resulting in a diverse mix of expertise ranging from spatial fisheries modelling, meta-analytical frameworks and conservation science and planning.

Oceans Institute Adjunct Professor Carlos Duarte had previously run a “workshop” on how to run a workshop, to assist successful applicants of the grant in making the most out of their projects. Acting on this advice, Jordan and Tim decided to host the workshop at Camp Quaranup in Albany, a location were the team could stay together, away from distractions in a stunning location with plenty of activities to keep them “sane” in the downtime. The team also opted to stay in basic style dorm accommodation so that fine dining chef Paul Iskov of Fervor who specialises in foraged, native and sustainable pop-up dining could cater the event. This matched the theme of the workshop ultimately aimed at improving food security in develop countries as chef Paul served sustainable locally sourced seafood, caught literally out the front of Camp Quaranup. 

The environment proved to be extremely productive with the team completing the work ahead of time allowing them to focus on additional publications. This involved a draft manuscript written on Google Documents, a tool allowing the whole team to work on the same document simultaneously, that will shortly be submitted to the journal PloS Biology. This manuscript answers the important question of whether PHCs can provide fisheries benefits on a global scale. A second manuscript that specifically examines Fijian PHCs and how they recover after one year of protection, a modelling manuscript that examines the ability of PHCs to conserve fish assemblages over time and a fourth examining the impacts of PHCs on fish behaviour were also drafted.  

Chef Paul Iskov
Chef Paul Iskov serving up a sustainable workshop dinner

Some of the lessons Jordan and Tim learned by hosting the workshop include:

  • Choose a pristine location; with international scientists travelling to the most isolated city on earth and with limited time, they appreciate the chance to experience the beauty of WA during the workshop.       
  • Get good food, a quote from Dr Joachim Claudet after the workshop sums this up nicely: “I really want to thank you all and Jordan in particular for this great workshop. It was fun and productive. I do hope to see you all soon (don't be offended, but the one I am clearly missing the most is Paul the chef).” 
  • Organise activities for after work hours, after spending 9 hours looking at meta-analytical statistics, our team enjoyed fishing for squid off the private jetty, “Cockling”, Surfing (at 4am!) and watching chef Paul cook up locally caught sustainable seafood.

Read more about the latest news and activities at the UWA Oceans Institute www.oceans.uwa.edu.au/news-events/oceans-online