Vanishing Fish Stocks

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A podcast from the Planet Earth Online collection and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). The Food Standards Agency advises everyone to eat at least two portions of fish a week, one of which should be oily, because it is good for us.

Unfortunately our appetite for fish and other seafood has decimated a number of what used to be common species. Many fisheries are now unsustainable.

In this programme, Sue Nelson meets Professors Callum Roberts, a fish expert from the University of York, and David Sims from the Marine Biological Association (MBA) at a meeting to celebrate 125 years of the MBA. The MBA was set up in part to investigate Professor Thomas Huxley's claim that many fish stocks were 'inexhaustible'.

Sue asks Callum and David if fish stocks are running out and if so, what has caused the problem. The answers are not easy listening. They say the only way to preserve fisheries is if we all change our habits.

Also in the programme, Dr Eleanor Blyth from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology explains why details like leaf size and shape, and soil moisture are so important for climate models.

She explains how she uses complex mathematical equations in a computer simulation called the Joint UK Land Environment Simulator (JULES) to help her.

Next, Tamera Jones expalins why ice sheets melting in Greenland and Antarctica are of concern. The most detailed study yet shows it's not a pretty picture.

Also, how British colonial rule made one tribe in the Andaman Islands shorter by two centimetres and why faces are more important than bodies in the mating game.

This podcast is dated 5 October 2009.

NERC is a part of the Research Councils UK (RCUK) partnership of research councils.

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