It’s been a momentous few weeks for me here Cold Water Diver, but more so for long time friend and fellow diver, Jessica Schultz! Jessica is currently completing her BSc at the University of British Columbia, where she has been in the Honours program for Marine Biology in the Zoology department. She published her first scientific paper with co-writers Emily Darling PhD, and Isabelle Côté PhD of the Biology Department of Simon Fraser University; both of whom are excellent divers, friends, and well respected scientists in the field of Marine Biology. The paper is entitled: “What is an endangered species worth? Threshold costs for protecting imperiled fishes in Canada.”, published in Marine Policy. The article examines conservation in marine and freshwater fish species, the abstract is here:
The protection of imperilled fish species is increasingly urgent given ongoing fisheries declines and the degradation of aquatic habitats. In Canada, threatened aquatic species were less likely than terrestrial species to be listed under the Species at Risk Act (SARA), the main legal instrument for bestowing protection, in the early years of the Act’s implementation. In this paper, the existence of economic thresholds that might have hampered the protection of Canadian marine and freshwater fishes is examined. The analysis of the socio-economic data used to inform listing decisions about threatened fish taxa over the past decade reveals that the likelihood of being listed declines non-linearly with increasing estimated costs of protection but does not vary with proposed threat status. The estimated threshold cost (i.e., the point at which the likelihood of not being listed=0.5) was ∼$5,000,000 (∼$1,400,000 to ∼$31,400,000, 95% CI) per decade for freshwater species but only ∼$90,000 ($∼50,000 to ∼$140,000, 95% CI) per decade for marine fish taxa. In fact, no marine fish species with an anticipated cost of listing greater than zero was listed for protection. The presence of existing management legislation and qualitative statements about negative impacts of listing on exploitation generally led to denying protection to marine but not to freshwater species. These findings highlight both a large and inconsistent emphasis on costs of protection in SARA listing decisions, to the detriment of marine fish species. (Schultz et al. 2013)
Jessica Schultz is a highly accomplished diver, certified as a PADI Staff Instructor, NSS-CDS Cave Diver, TDI TriMix and Advanced Wreck diver, and of course, a CAUS Scientific Diver. Her goals are to pursue academia and underwater exploration through diving. She has also agreed to come on to Cold Water Diver as an (ir)regularly posting member of the team, providing posts on her areas of expertise based around her professional and scholastic schedule. So congratulations to Jessica Schultz for her first published paper and impending BSc, and welcome her to the Cold Water Diver team!