Navigation Links
Seafood menus from Hawaii reflect long-term ocean changes
Date:8/5/2013

DURHAM, N.C. -- The colorful restaurant menus that thousands of tourists bring home as souvenirs from Hawaii hold more than happy memories of island vacations.

They also contain valuable data that are helping a trio of researchers track long-term changes to important fisheries in the Aloha State.

The scientists are using the menus as part of a larger project to fill a 45-year gap in official records of wild fish populations in Hawaii's ocean waters during the mid-20th century.

"Market surveys and government statistics are the traditional sources for tracking fisheries. But when those records don't exist, we have to be more creative. Here we found restaurant menus were a workable proxy that chronicled the rise and fall of fisheries," said Kyle S. Van Houtan, adjunct assistant professor at Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment and leader of the Marine Turtle Assessment Program at NOAA's Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center.

The team's analysis of 376 menus from 154 different restaurants showed that near-shore species such as reef fish, jacks and bottom fish, for example, were common on Hawaiian menus before 1940. By its statehood in 1959, they appeared collectively on less than 10 percent of menus sampled.

Restaurants began serving large pelagic species, such as tuna and swordfish. By 1970, 95 percent of the menus contained large pelagics; inshore fish had all but disappeared.

"The decline in reef fish in just a few decades was somewhat of a surprise to us. We knew at the outset the menus would have a unique historical perspective, but we did not expect the results to be so striking," said study co-author Jack Kittinger, an early career fellow at Stanford University's Center for Ocean Solutions.

Changes in public tastes might explain part of this extreme shift, Kittinger said, but the team's analysis of landings records and background socioeconomic data suggests the disappearance of reef fish from menus paralleled drops in their wild abundance.

"The menus provide demand-side evidence suggesting inshore fish were in steep decline," Van Houtan said.

The researchers hope their study will increase opportunities and attention for similar historical analyses elsewhere.

"Historical ecology typically focuses on supply-side information," said Loren McClenachan, assistant professor of environmental studies at Colby College in Maine and co-author of the study. "Restaurant menus are an available but often overlooked source of information on the demand side; they document seafood consumption, availability and even value over time."

"Most of the menus in our study came from private collections. They were often beautifully crafted, date-stamped and cherished by their owners as art," Van Houtan said. "The point of our study is that they are also data."

Added McClenachan: "This research demonstrates the tremendous wealth of useful information that is often hidden away in people's attics."

The trio published their findings Aug. 1 as a peer-reviewed letter in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.


'/>"/>

Contact: Tim Lucas
tdlucas@duke.edu
919-613-8084
Duke University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Seafood still considered a good source of nutrients but consumers confused on safety
2. Seafood, wild or farmed? The answer may be both
3. Study finds healthy seafood comes from sustainable fish
4. NOAA discovers way to detect low-level exposure to seafood toxin in marine animals
5. Symbols, such as traffic lights, on menus effective in educating diners
6. 50 years of bird poop links DDT with changing bird menus
7. Recovery of Hawaiian green sea turtles still short of historic levels, Stanford-led study suggests
8. New maps may reduce tourism impacts on Hawaiian dolphins
9. Native plant restoration not enough to maintain tropical dry forests in Hawaii
10. University of Hawaii Cancer Center researchers create new anti-cancer drug
11. Alpine lakes reflect climate change
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/19/2017)... York , April 19, 2017 ... as its vendor landscape is marked by the presence ... market is however held by five major players - ... Together these companies accounted for nearly 61% of the ... the leading companies in the global military biometrics market ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... 11, 2017 Crossmatch®, a globally-recognized leader ... today announced that it has been awarded a ... Activity (IARPA) to develop next-generation Presentation Attack Detection ... "Innovation has been a driving force within Crossmatch ... allow us to innovate and develop new technologies ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... , April 5, 2017  The Allen Institute ... Allen Cell Explorer: a one-of-a-kind portal and dynamic digital ... 3D imaging data, the first application of deep learning ... human stem cell lines and a growing suite of ... platform for these and future publicly available resources created ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2017)... USA, and CARDIFF, UK (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2017 , ... ... (LANL), and Brian Lula, president of Physik Instrumente USA, have been selected as this ... and photonics . , The two have been invited along with other honorees to ...
(Date:6/23/2017)... ... June 23, 2017 , ... ... flying hobbyists, and the University Aviation Association (UAA), the unifying voice for collegiate ... Collegiate Challenge will encourage teamwork, competition, and success through a STEM-based education platform. ...
(Date:6/22/2017)... Colorado (PRWEB) , ... June 21, 2017 , ... ... RTP regional office in North Carolina, and engages Timothy Reinhardt to manage the ... of quality leadership at Pfizer Inc, with his most recent role as the ...
(Date:6/22/2017)... ... June 22, 2017 , ... AESKU.GROUP, an innovation ... Systeme & Technologien GmbH, thereby expanding its product portfolio to include allergy and ... urticaria, asthma, atopic eczema or a food allergy. Allergies are escalating to epidemic ...
Breaking Biology Technology: