Making Sustainable Seafood Choices in Glasgow

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by Edd Hind

One of the reasons I became I marine scientist is because I love eating fish. It’s a healthy thing to do, but more importantly they taste delicious! Nevertheless, a taste for the juicy white flesh of cod, the salty aftertaste of an oyster, or the flavour explosion of mackerel can clearly be an ethical conundrum for people in our line of work.

At IMCC3, hopefully we can all share knowledge and help make decisions that will ensure I, and others like me, don’t have to feel guilty about our fetish for fish. The good news, in the meantime, is that we certainly won’t have to regret eating seafood while we are in Glasgow. The IMCC team have been researching the vibrant sustainable seafood scene in Scotland’s largest city. The following are just a couple of the great options.

Celebrity British chef Jamie Oliver has been a great patron for the oceans in the last decade, and in conjunction with IMCC, his Jamie’s Italian restaurant will be putting on a special sustainable Shellfish Supper on the evening of August 16th with a presentation on sustainable seafood in Scotland. This event is full, but IMCC3 delegates can try to make a reservation at Jamie’s Italian during their stay in Glasgow.

Don’t stop there though! A visit to the UK is not complete without tasting the national delicacy of fish ‘n’ chips. We’ve been in contact with top Glasgow ‘chipper’ and seafood restaurant, Gandolfi Fish, who were more than happy to tell you about both their seafood sourcing policies and what you should eat when at the conference.

IMCC: What first motivated you to start selling sustainable fish?

Gandolfi Fish: At Gandolfi Fish, we believe that using sustainable fish supplies is the only way to run an efficient restaurant. It is not a question of doing the right thing; it’s more a question of doing the only thing you can to ensure healthy oceans.

IMCC: What types of sustainable fish are you selling, and how are you cooking them?

Gandolfi Fish: One of our biggest selling fish is Halibut, sourced from a farm in Gigha.  We serve it grilled with creamed leeks, peas and bacon.

IMCC: If the delegates at the 3rd International Marine Conservation Congress should eat one thing while they are in Glasgow, what should it be?

Gandolfi Fish: They should definitely try pan seared scallops with black pudding. It’s a very classic combination, and Stornoway Black pudding has a protected status now in Scotland. We serve hand-dived Isle of Mull scallops this way, along with pear and cider cream.

That. Sounds. Delicious! See you at IMCC, where I will be leaping head first into a tasty bowl of ethically sourced Cullen Skink.

Jamie’s Italian is located 7 George Square, Glasgow, G2 1DY and can be contacted on +44 0141 404 2690

Gandolfi Fish is located 84-86 Albion Street, Glasgow G1 1NY. You can take away or make a reservation on +44-141-552-9475

-Edd Hind is a Marine Resource Management faculty member with the School for Field Studies. He is also on the Communications Committee for IMCC3.

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IMCC3 Mascot: The Atlantic Puffin

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Atlantic puffins on the Isle of Lunga, a Treshnish Isle in Argylle and Bute, Scotland. (Photo by Samantha Oester)

Atlantic puffins on the Isle of Lunga, a Treshnish Isle in Argylle and Bute, Scotland. (Photo by Samantha Oester)

by Samantha Oester

As a child, I was fascinated by puffins, among many other exotic seafaring animals. (Exotic, meaning, I had never seen them in the forests of West Virginia.) My kindergarten teacher read us a book on seabirds, and puffins enchanted my young heart. The Atlantic puffin (Fratercula arctica) in the book she held up was small, fast and colorful, she explained. They could be found in several places I had never heard of, including a magical land called Scotland. (My five-year-old self may have added the magical bit. At that age, the presence of castles equaled magical.) I imagined myself sitting among these tiny birds, in a place where green and blue met.

Atlantic puffins reside in coastal colonies during breeding season, tunneling cliffside burrows of offshore islands to lay a solitary egg. It is during mating season that Atlantic puffins sport their signature brightly colored beaks. During breeding and rearing in spring and summer, they can be found in their clifftop colonies on several Scottish Isles, including East Lothian, the Inner and Outer Hebrides, Fife, Shetland and Orkney. Breeding pairs typically return to the same burrow location each year. The puffin parents take turns caring for the egg and chick. Eggs hatch in about six weeks, and rearing takes about two months.

Atlantic puffin carrying food for a chick on the Isle of Lunga. (Photo by Samantha Oester)

Atlantic puffin carrying food for a chick on the Isle of Lunga. (Photo by Samantha Oester)

Atlantic puffins chiefly eat small fish and sand eels. They are also known to consume mollusks, crustaceans and marine worms. Parents can often be seen flying prey from the sea to burrows to feed their young. Atlantic puffins are preyed on by larger seabirds, such as hawks and skuas.

If enjoying puffin watching in one of their habitats, it is important to keep from approaching too closely, so as not to stress puffin parents. (They may still fly right by you, or even nestle in near your watching spot!) It is also important to not go too close to the cliff’s side, as you could cave in their burrows and hurt or even kill the puffins inside. Burrows are commonly two to three feet long (70 to 110 cm).

Bring your camera and binoculars—I could watch puffin behaviors for hours!—and you can still get great photos, even from a distance. Notice as they bill, in which mating pairs rub their bills together, to a curious crowd of fellow puffins who gather to watch the public display of affection. You could catch gaping behavior, in which they puff up and open their wings and beak to show aggression. They may also stomp their feet to show discontentment. You may also notice nosy neighbors popping in to check out different burrows.

Atlantic puffins live in the northern Atlantic Ocean, spending winters at sea. They can be found from Greenland to the coastline of Newfoundland and from Norway to Spain. Their large range has helped the species to remain abundant, although the IUCN reports the population trend appears to be decreasing. Local populations in some areas have declined due to human activity, including puffin hunting, over-fishing of their prey items, invasive predator species, oil spills and drilling operations.

IMCC3 Mascot Alan MacPuffin. IMCC3 will take place in Glasgow, Scotland, 14-18 August 2014. (Photo by Chris Parsons)

IMCC3 Mascot Alan MacPuffin. IMCC3 will take place in Glasgow, Scotland, 14-18 August 2014. (Photo by Chris Parsons)

The Atlantic puffin is the mascot for the 3rd International Marine Conservation Congress. The mascot is aptly named Alan MacPuffin.

Atlantic puffins leave their colonies throughout August, so if you are extending your Scotland travel for IMCC3, you may be able to catch these captivating seabirds before they depart from the Scottish Isles for the year.

 

-Samantha Oester is a co-chair and the communications chair for IMCC3.

The Ecology of Haggis: Food or Friend?

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By Brinkley Dinsmore

The traditional Scottish dish, haggis, has enjoyed worldwide popularity due to its savory flavor and overall Scottish-ness. Before you indulge, you may find yourself wondering…what is this haggis? Some wild creature of the glens?

The elusive wild haggis, Haggis scoticus, is the cryptozoological namesake of the traditional dish. It is a mysterious animal revered by the Scottish, doubted by the English, and hunted by many an eager American tourist.

A representation of the wild haggis next to its culinary counterpart.

A representation of the wild haggis next to its culinary counterpart.

Wild haggii are said to inhabit the Scottish highlands, a landscape to which they are perfectly adapted: the legs on one side of the body are significantly longer than the legs of the otherside.

Their ability to maintain balance on the Scottish hills is unparalleled—in one direction. There are actually two subspecies of haggii, known as leftus and ius, named for their dominant leg side. The leftus populations are reported to run clockwise around the hilltops, if seen from above, and the ius runs counterclockwise. Their disparate leg lengths give them a unique advantage in their ability to move, but rather limits their ability to change direction—if a leftus were to attempt a counterclockwise jaunt around the hill, it would promptly roll right down the hill, likely into a bog.  This crucial fact of life for the haggis makes inter-subspecies mating nearly impossible and has contributed to their speciation.

There have been recent reports that wild haggii have been seen riding the Loch Ness monster, which is fully ridiculous—neither the ius or leftus  could keep its balance on such a beast. British disinters have posited that the apparent difference in haggis leg length is due to a predator-avoidance strategy that involves standing in a bog. This is also ridiculous as it completely ignores the deeply ingrained aversion to bogs that haggii have developed in the name of self-preservation. Belief in the wild haggis remains strong, however—33% of American tourists are certain that this creature can be found in Scotland.

The true skill of Haggis scoticus  is their ability to avoid humans. Unable to catch wild haggis regularly enough to keep up with demand, humans created a substitute haggis for regular consumption. A mix of offal  minced with spices and salt, and traditionally simmered in a casing of sheep stomach, haggis is served with “neeps” and “tatties” (turnips and potatoes). Never fear! For those of you that are opposed to eating all animals, mythical or observed, they do have a vegetarian version.

If you haven’t tried haggis yet, you’ll have ample opportunity to indulge guilt free while you’re in Scotland for the 3rd International Marine Conservation Congress.  Feel free to use your new knowledge about the wild haggis to educate any Americans you encounter—they may have the chance to tromp out on the glens and observe them in their natural habitat!

 

Brinkley Dinsmore is graduating from George Mason University in May of 2014. She is the Communications intern for IMCC3. 

IMCC for Beginners: A Student’s Perspective

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By Katheryn Patterson

If you’ve never been to an international conference, the IMCC is a great way to get your toes wet!

I remember attending my first international conference, only knowing three other people in a brand new country. It was very intimidating for new participants and I had a really hard time getting to know other delegates. When I attended my first IMCC, I was amazed at the contrast.  The laid-back nature of the International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC) and its incredibly welcoming delegates makes students feel comfortable from the start and allows for ample networking opportunities.

DSCN5073One reason I continue to go to IMCC is that I always find a new perspective or angle for my research after attending, due to the interdisciplinary nature of the congress and diversity of its attendees. There really is something for everyone at IMCC no matter if you are a scientist, in policy, communication, academia, non-governmental, governmental work, or any other field. The list of affiliations and disciplines represented at the congress is endless! For this reason, IMCC has always been a successful venue for students in terms of finding future mentors, graduate committee members, collaborators, funding, and even employment opportunities.

The IMCC organizers and their Student Committee go to extreme lengths to enroll and support student delegates, who account for 23 percent of the delegates at the last congress in 2012. We are expecting an even greater number of student delegates at the 3rd IMCC in Scotland, 14-19 August 2014, due to the close proximity of several universities featuring marine programs in the areas surrounding Glasgow. With this in mind, the student committee has put a great deal of time, effort, and thought into the student-focused activities that will be held this year.

Karaoke, anyone?

Karaoke, anyone?

We always try to offer a good mix of professional-development workshops, where students walk away from the congress with new skills, and social-events – and as we say in the south (U.S.) “Ya’ll, it is time to step away from the books, models, and stats to take the night off to celebrate your successes and make new friends!”

For me personally, IMCC represents so much more than the average scientific conference.  The presenters understand the interdisciplinary nature of the work in this field, which means you don’t find new research being presented simply for the science or raw data—instead, presentations address bigger application questions such as “what do these results MEAN,” or “what applications do these findings have?” Since I believe that many stakeholders have valuable perspectives to offer in marine conservation, this partnership-based approach gives me tools and perspectives that make my efforts more effective.

The Society for Conservation Biology’s Marine Section Board has worked diligently to ensure that there is a great sense of community among our marine section delegates and this is incredibly transparent at our congress. We have great student-specific events lined up for IMCC3 and we hope to see you there!

Katheryn Patterson is our Student Committee Co-Chair and Ph.D. Candidate, Dept. of Environmental Science & Policiy, George Mason University. Find her on Twitter @MarineKatPat

The Benefits of Attendance: IMCC3

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by Edd Hind

 

Without the International Marine Conservation Congresses (IMCC), I very much doubt I would be where I am today, professionally. At the first IMCC in 2009, I learned from experts in my field the methodology that would become central to my doctoral research. Two and a half years ago at IMCC2 in downtown Victoria, British Columbia, I shared sustainable seafood and locally brewed beer with a group of strangers who are now trusted collaborators. It’s as a result of these experiences that I think the IMCC is one of the “must attend” marine conservation conferences. The board members of the Marine Section of the Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) have been putting their heads together over the last week to state why they too believe that IMCC3 should be your “must attend” conference this year. Here’s what they had to say:

  • IMCC has a history of getting people with different experience levels and areas of expertise together to exchange ideas for the benefit of all involved. Alongside many interactive workshops and symposia, IMCC3 already has many student events scheduled.
  • Some of the best theories or ideas in science have come out because of a couple of strangers, or even friends, getting together over a coffee or a beer. The second IMCC had nine scheduled social events, and IMCC3 will provide similar opportunities.
  • Over five days, you will be exposed to a flood of new ideas, hypotheses, methods/techniques, analyses and findings—any scientists that say that’s not valuable might as well burn all their books, disconnect their computers from the internet, and go back to the middle ages while they’re at it!
  • The program will include workshops and courses that teach tangible skills, such as software, applications, and communication. Many marine scientists and managers have learned how to communicate with the media and use packages like Marxan at previous IMCCs. In Glasgow, there will be opportunities not only to develop your social media and GIS skills, but to apply those skills to causes you care about. You’ll have the opportunity to rescue marine mammals!
  • Conferences are perfect places to network for funding and research contacts. The previous IMCCs have attracted more than 1200 delegates per meeting. That’s a lot of opportunities to connect!
  • Remember, astronauts are the only scientists that work well in a vacuum. There will be no astronauts or vacuums at IMCC3!

IMCC3 is being held in Glasgow, Scotland, from 14-18 August 2014. More details about the meeting can be found at the conferences dedicated website.  I’m looking forward to seeing you there so we can share ideas over a wee dram of coffee or world-class whisky!

 

Edd Hind is a resident lecturer for the School for Field Studies. He is a member of the IMCC3 Communications Committee.

Glasgow: IMCC3 Host City a Must-Visit

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Don’t just take our word for it…
The IMCC 2014 host city, Glasgow, has been celebrated by numerous world-leading publications, travel guides and websites as a must-visit destination in 2014. Here is a selection of what they had to say:

Rough Guides – Top 10 Cities for 2014
“In the past few decades, Scotland’s biggest city has emerged as a cultural powerhouse. The River Clyde, which once ferried tobacco traders towards the city, now flows past smoking-hot artists’ studios and museums, which have appeared in rejuvenated docks.”

Jetsetter – Where to Go in 2014
“With a string of thumping live music venues, a sartorial scene to rival London’s and a skyline shaped by starchitects, Glasgow is Scotland’s creative capital and longtime hipper sister to tourist-packed Edinburgh.”

Wanderlust – 10 Destinations for 2014
“In Glasgow, you’ll be bowled over with the amount of options on offer – seek out historic sites, visit the city’s parks and gardens, explore the impressive gastronomic scene or soak up the cultured art scene in one of the city’s many galleries.”

The Telegraph – Twenty destinations for 2014
“Expect a warm welcome from one of the world’s friendliest cities. The city is summed up by its marketing slogan ‘People Make Glasgow’.”

International Business Times – 14 Destinations For 2014
“You’d be hard-pressed to find a more exciting time to go to Glasgow than the coming year when Scotland’s largest city plays host to a preponderance of international events.

The Guardian – UK Travel Hot List & Global Holiday Hotspots
“2014 would be a good time to rediscover Scotland’s largest city as it welcomes the world during what is, perhaps, the biggest year in its history.”

Marie Claire – 8 Must-Visit Destinations That Make Us Want To Book a Holiday Today
“The Commonwealth Games hit Glasgow in July and travel insiders expect a resulting year-long buzz in this friendly city, which boasts a vibrant art, theatre and music scene.”

RyanAir’s in-flight magazine Let’s Go – Great Escapes of 2014
“Over the last decade, Glasgow has morphed into a veritable entertainment nexus. World beating athletics, concerts and comedy nights keep Scotland’s largest city rocking all year long – and 2014 is on course to be its biggest yet.”

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(Photo: Samantha Oester)

Glasgow: A Fitting Backdrop for IMCC3

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by Samantha Oester

Scotland’s largest city is located in the West Central Lowlands, with the River Clyde bisecting the picturesque location. According to Dr. Chris Parsons, IMCC3 Chair, Glasgow was chosen as the host city for IMCC3 for several reasons, including its location, history and the country’s keen interest in marine science and marine conservation. And Glasgow is pleased to host IMCC3. “We’re delighted that IMCC is coming to Glasgow in August, during what will be a showcase year for the city,” said Aileen Crawford, Head of Conventions at the Glasgow City Marketing Bureau. “Hosting such a prestigious conference reinforces Glasgow’s international reputation as a world-leading conventions city, and we are committed to ensuring IMCC 2014 is a success and that your delegates enjoy a memorable experience.”

The top reasons the SCBMarine Board chose Glasgow as the location for IMCC3 include:

(1) The city’s location on the Clyde estuary. Glasgow has a long history of being a city whose people depended upon the estuary.

(2) The Millport Marine Lab, the oldest marine field station in Scotland (and one of the oldest in the world), is situated in the Firth of Clyde.

(3)  Glasgow is a portal to some of the country’s most beautiful natural settings. The west coast of Scotland is a premier destination for marine wildlife tourism. Hop on a train, and in an hour or so, you’re in the Scottish Highlands. In three hours, you’re in Oban, the gateway to the western Isles of Scotland and next to some of the best whale watching and bird watching locations in Europe.

(4) There has been a lot of success in the Clyde in bringing scientists and fishermen together to help manage marine resources.

(5) There are numerous universities in Glasgow, or within about an hour outside of the city, with nationally and internationally famous marine biology programs.

(6) The SECC (Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre), the location of the main IMCC3 scientific program, has a great sustainability policy.

(7)  The University of Glasgow kindly offered to partner with IMCC to help organize the meeting and to host most of the workshops.

(8) The IMCC3 chair and co-chair, Dr. John Cigliano, are big single malt whisky aficionados…

Additionally, the Glasgow City Marketing Bureau is an incredibly hospitable organization, ensuring delegates of international events held in Glasgow feel welcomed. “Glasgow prides itself on being home to world-class amenities, great travel and transport links and a ‘can-do’ culture,” Crawford explained. “The teamwork that exists between the different partners across our conventions sector is second to none—from our venues, hotels and restaurants, to our transport providers, local ambassadors and wider conference service providers; all of whom come together to make our city one of Europe’s premier business tourism destinations.”

Crawford best describes Glasgow as “vibrant and dynamic,” with much to see and do in the way of arts, culture, architecture and of course, shopping. Crawford feels the entire city is excited to host IMCC3. “We look forward to extending Glasgow’s renowned warm and friendly welcome to each and every one of you later this year at IMCC 2014.”

-Samantha Oester is Communications Chair for IMCC3

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