Plenary Presentations

Robin Welcomme

Robin WelcommeRobin Welcomme, Ph.D., is Visiting Researcher at Imperial College, London, and the retired Chief of Inland Fishery Resources and Aquaculture Service, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Welcomme was born in London, England, and served in the Air Force before attending Birkbeck College, University of London, and working at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food laboratory in Whitehall Place. After graduation, he became Scientific Officer at the East African Freshwater Fisheries Research Organization, Jinja (Uganda), and also obtained a Ph.D. at Makerere College, University of East Africa. In 1967, he transferred to work for FAO as a Fisheries Biologist in Benin, West Africa, and moved to Rome in 1971 as a Fishery Resources Officer and eventually became Chief, Inland Fishery Resources and Aquaculture Service. During his time at FAO, Welcomme developed his work on river fisheries, acted as Secretary of the European Inland Fisheries Advisory Commission as well as Technical Secretary to other regional fishery bodies, and helped draft the technical version of the Convention on Biological Diversity. Welcomme retired from FAO in 1997 to join Imperial College, London, as a Senior Research Fellow and later as a Senior Research Investigator. In the meantime he still maintains an active interest in river fisheries.

Welcomme’s work has always trended towards the more practical aspects of inland fisheries management and in particular the fisheries ecology of rivers, albeit on a sound scientific and theoretical basis. His work responds to the need to conserve and manage highly sensitive inland water environments— lakes, rivers and reservoirs—to support sustainable fishing. This involves improved understanding of the fish, the fisheries, and the environments which support them.

His work has involved a long period of information gathering, in collaboration with the inland fisheries community worldwide, on the biology and ecology of fish and the nature and functioning of freshwater environments. It has led to synthesis of such data and the development of models of ecosystem function and yield. Administratively, his work has also involved developing advice and guidelines for governments and other interested parties on diverse aspects on inland fisheries management. Currently his emphasis is on analyzing the inland fisheries statistics of the various countries of the world to improve estimates of the contribution of inland fisheries to national incomes and to food security.

Plenary Presentation: Inland Fisheries: Past, Present and Future

In 2012, inland fish catches reached 11.6 million tonnes after a more or less linear growth of 3.6% per year since 1950. More than 56 million people were directly involved in inland fisheries in the developing world in 2009. Recreational fisheries, too, are gaining importance in many part of the world. Inland fisheries have been a significant source of food from very early on in history. Many early river-based civilizations show fishing as a major activity and fishing has been regulated from as far back as 1000 bce. Systematic investigations of inland fisheries began in Northern America and Europe towards the end of the 19th century in the temperate zone and the expansion of European populations into the tropics from the mid-1800s onwards sparked a growing interest in the fauna and flora of these regions. The deteriorating condition of north temperate inland waters led to the creation of a number of institutes to study the processes regulating inland fish and fisheries. Studies drew attention to eutrophication as one of the main human impacts on lacustrine systems They also gained detailed knowledge of fish reproduction, migration, larval drift, feeding, and growth of some species in some systems, which led to generalized theories of river function such as the River Continuum Concept and the flood pulse concept. By extrapolation, this has created a generalised knowledge base sufficient for the formulation of conservation and management programmes. They also showed that inland fisheries are highly diverse and equally diverse approaches to their management and conservation are needed. During the 1970s and 80s, evidence was accruing of the failure of simple stock dynamic models and the responses of multi-species (and multi-gear) fish assemblages to increasing fishing pressure was documented. At the same time, there was a growing realization of the general failure of management by centralized systems and various forms of participatory management emerged. Much of inland fisheries management is subject to activities in economic sectors outside fisheries, so cross-sectoral planning is essential for the sustainability of the aquatic resource and fisheries. The last 15 years has seen a lapse in attention to inland fisheries, and the resource has suffered as a consequence. It is even difficult to account for the continuing growth of inland fish catches since the 1950s in view of the threats from other sectors. Current knowledge of the biology and ecology of inland fish and fisheries is probably sufficient for us to manage fisheries in a sustainable manner, and to propose solutions to conserve fisheries in the context of other users of water so future growth or decline of the sector will depend on political will not only by the fisheries sector but by all involved with the use of water.

Nanna Roos

Nanna Roos

Nanna Roos, Ph.D., is Associate Professor at the Department of Nutrition, Exercise, and Sports (NEXS) Section on Paediatric and International Nutrition at the University of Copenhagen. Roos has extensive experience in research and research capacity in the linkages between human nutrition and aquaculture and fisheries. She completed her Ph.D. on aquaculture and nutrition in Bangladesh, which emphasized the potential for integrating nutrient-dense, small, indigenous fish species in rural polyculture pond production to the benefit of increasing the intake of important micronutrients. This was followed up by 15 years of continued engagement in research and research capacity building, with a focus on nutrition in developing countries—specifically the role of fish and other aquatic animals in food and nutrition security. Lately she has also engaged in research into the potential of insect rearing as an alternative animal food source. Her research has been conducted through research projects funded by the research council of Danida, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Denmark, and by international donors.

She led the project “Alleviating childhood malnutrition in developing countries through improved utilization and processing of traditional foods – WINFOOD” (2008-2013), with collaborative research in Cambodia and Kenya. Within the WinFood project in Cambodia, food for young children based on rice, indigenous fish, and an edible spider have been developed in collaboration with research partners in Fisheries Administration. The project is in collaboration with the World Food Programme (WFP) and a local NGO and the product was tested for nutritional impact in a randomized intervention study with 440 children age 6-15 months. The processed WinFood baby food based on rice and small indigenous fish was shown to support healthy growth in infants similarly to a milk-soya based product developed by WFP.  At present she is partnering as work package leader in the EU-funded project “Aquaculture for Food Security and Nutrition” (AFSPAN) being coordinated by FAO, and she is grantholder and leading the project ‘GREEiNSECT – Insects for Green Economy’ (2014-2017), in which the potential of developing an insect-rearing sector in Kenya is being investigated through collaborative research with Kenyan and international partners.

Plenary Presentation: Freshwater Fish in the Food Basket in Developing Countries: A Key to Alleviate Undernutrition?

Poor nutritional quality of diets is the main underlying cause of undernutrition, causing more than 3 million annual deaths among pre-school children. These diets lack diversity and critical nutrients. A key to improve dietary quality is an addition of animal-source foods, such as meat, fish, milk, and eggs. In countries with productive inland aquatic environments, fish (and sometimes aquatic snails, frogs, insects, etc.) are often the main or only animal-source food frequently accessible to poor families. Small fish are typically cheaper than larger fish, as well as nutritionally advantageous because they are consumed whole or partially intact. Fish bones are rich in calcium and phosphorous, and other tissues can be rich in critical micronutrients such as iron, zinc, and vitamin A. The apparent paradox of poor nutrition in populations with small fish as the dominant animal-source food in their diets is due to insufficient portion sizes, particularly among young children and women. Dried small fish may be used almost daily but in trace amounts for flavouring. Young children may be served no or tiny portions of fish. Inland fisheries could contribute more to improve nutrition in developing countries if access can be improved and eased. Pilot studies have confirmed that powdered small fish can replace milk in complementary feeding of infants, if consumed in sufficient quantities. Development of local processing technologies to preserve and incorporate small fish into processed food products which are accessible to women and children in poor households can contribute to secure sufficient consumption to significantly contribute towards alleviating undernutrition.

Paul Lumley

Paul LumleyBabtist “Paul” Lumley is Executive Director of the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (CRITFC) in Portland, Oregon, USA. CRITFC’s member-tribes include the Yakama, Warm Springs, Umatilla, and Nez Perce tribes. He has an extensive history working with Northwest tribes on salmon issues, particularly in the Columbia River Basin. He spent 17 years with CRITFC working on biological issues relating to US v. Oregon and the Pacific Northwest Electric Power Planning and Conservation Act. Before moving to Washington D.C. in 2004, he also assisted in fund raising and establishing a grant program for the four Columbia River treaty tribes.

Lumley has a wide-ranging background on issues that directly impact American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians. He has worked directly with tribal governments, tribal consortia, virtually all federal agencies impacting Indian Country, and Native American national and regional organizations throughout his professional career.

In 2004, Lumley worked for the U.S. Department of Defense in Washington, D.C., under an interagency personnel agreement where he served as the Senior Tribal Liaison within the Office of the Deputy Undersecretary for the Department of Defense’s Installations and Environment Program. In that capacity, he was responsible for the Native American Lands Environmental Mitigation Program as well as working on numerous policy issues affecting Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians.

Lumley served as the Executive Director for the National American Indian Housing Council (NAIHC) in Washington, D.C. from 2007 to 2009. There, he successfully advocated for the reauthorization of the primary native housing legislation, secured over half a billion dollars in stimulus funding for Indian housing, and restored NAIHC’s federally funded training and technical assistance programs.

Lumley returned to the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission as the Executive Director in 2009. The Columbia River basin is a very large basin, approximately the size of France. The basin covers 5 states and a substantial portion of the basin is in Canada. Numerous dams have been constructed in the Columbia River basin, which have severely impacted salmon runs and devastated tribal villages. CRITFC as an organization is dedicated to restoring the salmon runs and protecting the tribes’ treaty-reserved fishing rights.

Lumley received his B.S. degree in mathematics from Western Washington University in 1986 and is a citizen of the Yakama Nation of central Washington State.

Plenary Presentation: Using Tribal Fishing Rights as Leverage to Restore Salmon Populations in the Columbia River Basin

Since time immemorial, the health, spirit, and cultures of the Columbia River tribes have been sustained by the water, salmon, game, roots, and berries of our homeland— our sacred “First Foods.” When the Yakama, Umatilla, Warm Springs, and Nez Perce tribes entered into treaties with the United States in 1855, they specifically reserved their rights to fish, hunt, and gather at all usual and accustomed areas. The treaties have not only protected these rights, they have provided crucial legal leverage helping drive current salmon recovery efforts.

Since the signing of the treaties, the Columbia Basin has been dramatically altered. Increased human population, dam construction, unregulated harvest, and substantial habitat modifications drastically reduced salmon populations. The significant decline drove the four tribes to form the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission in 1977. Since then, these tribes have become leaders in “putting fish back in the rivers and protecting the watersheds where fish live.” They participate in interstate agreements and international treaties controlling salmon harvest and water management, they are successfully rebuilding naturally spawning salmon populations, and they are restoring habitat and protecting the water flowing in the rivers.

Despite many daunting challenges, the tribes never strayed from their mission to protect salmon. Remarkably, the salmon decline has been reversed, in large part to the legal leverage of the treaty-reserved fishing rights and the value of partnership. Our work has only begun, but the success of our efforts will benefit future generations, tribal and non-tribal alike.

Olcay Unver

Olcay UnverOlcay Ünver, Ph.D. is the Deputy Director of the Land and Water Division at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). His responsibilities include water, land, and soil-related activities and programs, mainstreaming water across the various sectors and disciplines and cooperating with partners and stakeholders within and outside the UN system. Before joining FAO, he was the Coordinator of the UN World Water Assessment Programme and Director of the UNESCO Programme Office on Global Water Assessment. Prior positions include a professorship with Kent State University, Ohio, where he founded the Euphrates-Tigris Initiative for Cooperation (ETIC), between Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. While he was President of the Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP) Regional Development Administration in Turkey, Ünver transformed a large infrastructure project into a sustainable socioeconomic development program. In 1999, he was listed among 19 “European Visionaries” by Time magazine. Ünver holds a Ph.D. in civil engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and master’s and bachelor’s degrees, also in civil engineering, from Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey.

Plenary Presentation: Water Governance and Management for Sustainable Development

The key role that water plays for all living beings and ecosystems is largely acknowledged while its availability across time, geographical boundaries, and sectors is usually taken for granted, unless there is too little or too much of it or it is unusable due to pollution, contamination, or other reasons. No development is possible without water and no development is sustainable without proper systems of governance and management.

Water’s continuous movement on, over, and under the surface of our planet is described by the water cycle which also provides for a thorough understanding of how humans interact with the various forms and shapes water is present in, be it rivers, lakes, seas, oceans, underground aquifers, or precipitation. We have interfered with the water cycle to provide for our basic needs, and then for the requirements associated with the many uses of water, such as for our cities, crops, factories, energy generation, and transportation as well as for spiritual, cultural, recreational, and other reasons. We have modified parts of the cycle to deal with the extremes of it, and used water bodies as recipients of the various products of our socio-economic and human activities, including various types of waste.