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Nat Commun ; 12(1): 6492, 2021 11 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1514412


The COVID-19 pandemic caused unprecedented cancellations of fisheries and ecosystem-assessment surveys, resulting in a recession of observations needed for management and conservation globally. This unavoidable reduction of survey data poses challenges for informing biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, developing future stock assessments of harvested species, and providing strategic advice for ecosystem-based management. We present a diversified framework involving integration of monitoring data with empirical models and simulations to inform ecosystem status within the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem. We augment trawl observations collected from a limited fisheries survey with survey effort reduction simulations, use of seabird diets as indicators of fish abundance, and krill species distribution modeling trained on past observations. This diversified approach allows for evaluation of ecosystem status during data-poor situations, especially during the COVID-19 era. The challenges to ecosystem monitoring imposed by the pandemic may be overcome by preparing for unexpected effort reduction, linking disparate ecosystem indicators, and applying new species modeling techniques.

COVID-19/epidemiology , Conservation of Natural Resources/methods , Fisheries/statistics & numerical data , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Animals , Biodiversity , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , Databases, Factual , Ecosystem , Environmental Monitoring/methods , Fishes , Food Chain , Models, Statistical , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification
Sci Rep ; 10(1): 22407, 2020 12 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-997949


The novel coronavirus is predicted to have dire implications on global food systems including fisheries value chains due to restrictions imposed on human movements in many countries. In Ghana, food production, both agriculture and fisheries, is exempted from restrictions as an essential service. The enforcement of COVID-19 prevention protocols, particularly social distancing, has been widely reported in Ghana's agricultural markets whereas casual observations and media reports on fish landing sites suggest no such enforcements are in place. This study aimed to provide sound scientific evidence as a basis for informed policy direction and intervention for the artisanal fishing sector in these challenging times. We employed an unmanned aerial vehicle in assessing the risk of artisanal fishers to the pandemic using physical distancing as a proxy. From analysis of cumulative distribution function (G-function) of the nearest-neighbour distances, this study underscored crowding at all surveyed fish landing beaches, and identified potential "hotspots" for disease transmission. Aerial measurements taken at times of peak landing beach activity indicated that the highest proportion of people, representing 56%, 48%, 39% and 78% in Elmina, Winneba, Apam and Mumford respectively, were located at distances of less than one metre from their nearest neighbour. Risk of crowding was independent of the population at the landing beaches, suggesting that all categories of fish landing sites along the coast would require equal urgency and measured attention towards preventing and mitigating the spread of the disease.

COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Fisheries/statistics & numerical data , Physical Distancing , COVID-19/transmission , Crowding , Geographic Information Systems , Ghana/epidemiology , Humans , Remote Sensing Technology , Risk , SARS-CoV-2
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 117(47): 29419-29421, 2020 11 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-900116


The COVID-19 pandemic has led to environmental recovery in some ecosystems from a global "anthropause," yet such evidence for natural resources with extraction or production value (e.g., fisheries) is limited. This brief report provides a data-driven global snapshot of expert-perceived impacts of COVID-19 on inland fisheries. We distributed an online survey assessing perceptions of inland fishery pressures in June and July 2020 to basin-level inland fishery experts (i.e., identified by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations across the global North and South); 437 respondents from 79 countries addressed 93 unique hydrological basins, accounting for 82.1% of global inland fish catch. Based on the responses analyzed against extrinsic fish catch and human development index data, pandemic impacts on inland fisheries 1) add gradation to the largely positive environmental narrative of the global pandemic and 2) identify that basins of higher provisioning value are perceived to experience greater fishery pressures but may have limited compensatory capacity to mitigate COVID-19 impacts along with negative pressures already present.

COVID-19/economics , Fisheries/economics , Pandemics/economics , COVID-19/epidemiology , Fisheries/statistics & numerical data , Food Insecurity , Humans