FishBase and SeaLifeBase by the numbers

FishBase was born 30 years ago and SeaLifeBase 15 years ago. The processes and efforts behind the creation of these two databases have been complex and enormous, involving dozens of staff members and thousands of collaborators. But how much information have these global biodiversity information systems gathered in the past…

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Kicking off the FishBase and SeaLifeBase anniversary celebrations

The year 2020 marks the 30th anniversary of FishBase and 15th anniversary of SeaLifeBase, two online global biodiversity information systems that, together, provide biological and ecological information on more than 110,000 marine species. To celebrate these milestones in the times of physical distancing, we have launched a year-long digital campaign that…

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Rainer Froese wins Ocean Awards in science

Here’s good news amidst the COVID-19 crisis, just what everyone needs to hear right now. Dr. Rainer Froese has been selected as the winner for the Science category of this year’s Ocean Awards! Huge congratulations to FishBase co-founder and long-term coordinator! It’s a well-deserved award for Dr. Froese in recognition of his commitment to solving the ocean crisis. The organizers, UK-based BOAT International and Blue Marine Foundation, have announced the winners by category each day since Monday, 4 May 2020 on their respective websites and social media accounts. The news on the Science Award winner was officially released last among all categories, on Friday 8 May 2020. All the results will also be published in the June 2020 issue of BOAT International.

Ocean Awards honor and celebrate people and organisations who work tirelessly to help address the largest solvable problem on the planet – the crisis in our oceans. This year’s winners were chosen for taking strides to improve the health of the marine environment, with sustainable management of marine resources and public engagement efforts surrounding the oceans.

For the Science Award, Dr. Froese was chosen and recognized by a panel of 10 esteemed and independent judges for the following extraordinary reasons:

“Rainer Froese, who helped create the successful online encyclopedia on fish, FishBase, received the Science Award for empowering independent scientists to assess fish populations swiftly in ways that challenge conventional wisdom. He applied the first of these methods to a reassessment of European fish stocks which showed that the fishing industry could catch an additional 5 million tonnes – twice the what is produced from fish farming – if fisheries management was done properly and according to European law. His most recent breakthrough enabled the assessment of 38 data-poor North Sea species such as the thorny skate and Vahl’s eelpout, showing that the population of half of them was so small that reproduction may be impaired. The findings are likely to require some species to be listed as endangered and for the EU to return them all to favourable conservation status. Rainer also had the idea to look at where trawling was most intense in European waters – and his colleagues discovered that trawlers were, scandalously, most active in Europe’s designated marine reserves.”

Dr. Rainer Froese developed a computer program that measures stability and sustainability of fish stocks. “Our methods apply powerful statistics and heavy number-crunching to find the combination of stock size and exploitation that is best compatible with the available information,” says Dr. Froese. “There is no longer any excuse for not managing fisheries so that healthy stocks produce healthy catches,” he added.

Read more from BOAT International, “Ocean Awards 2020: Could a Computer Program be the Answer to Overfishing?” and from BLUE Marine Foundation: “Ocean Awards 2020 Winners

Watch this video produced by the award-giving bodies celebrating Dr. Froese:

Listen to the podcast as BLUE Marine Foundation delved into a deeper conversation with this year’s extraordinary awardee here>>

Also read Dr. Froese’s interview with Charles Clover, Executive Director at Blue Marine Foundation, where he expressed how COVID-19 could help to end overfishing in Europe’s seas forever. Find it here>>Ocean Award Winner Urges EU Not To Squander The Fisheries Bonus of Lockdown.

Jack Randall (1924 – 2020): a friend of FishBase

By Daniel Pauly  The public at large and scientists who are not taxonomists share a view of taxonomists as hard to connect with and sometimes remote; this may apply to some of them, but as with everything, there are exceptions. One of these exceptions was Jack Randall. John Ernest Randall was…

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