What's News

Fished out of water   New diplomat brings expertise on Cuba
Visiting Latin American Journalist Fellowship launched   Film series embodies Israeli culture
School of International Studies to open next year   Gardner to chair Department of Medicine
Veritas goes online   Braving the open Ocseola

Fished out of water

Long thought to be a limitless, global resource, the Earth's fish are disappearing at an alarming rate.

Off the coast of Alaska, the Pacific halibut stock has been so decimated that the commercial fishing season has been cut from four months to one day. Off the coasts of Peru and Chile, periodic changes in ocean temperatures combined with intense fishing pressure threaten to wipe out the annual anchovy harvest. Meanwhile, off the coast of Miami, unchecked fishing and habitat degradation has driven the majority of economically and ecologically important coral-reef fish stocks, like grouper and snapper, and the once-abundant Biscayne Bay red drum population, to near total collapse.

Reef PhotoOne reason for the problem is that man has likely reached the upper bound on these new resources, and existing resources must now be better managed. According to a recent United Nations report, nearly 70 percent of the world's conventional fish species have been fished up to, or beyond, their natural limits. What's more, despite a steady increase in fishing capacity and a more widely dispersed worldwide fleet, the annual global catch has remained stagnant for nearly a decade.

Who is to blame for our declining fish populations? All of us. Until recent years, most nations had few, if any, regulations on catch sizes or fishing techniques. High-seas drift nets, some as wide as 30 miles, combed the waters pulling in everything in their path. Much of the catch of non-target species was discarded; only portions of the commercially desirable species were kept. The drift nets are now banned, but highly mechanized "long-lines" are, in some ways, equally as devastating.

Habitat degradation also contributes to declines in fish populations. In the Chesapeake Bay, a century of habitat destruction and over-fishing has reduced habitat to less than 50 percent, and catches to less than 1 percent of historical levels. In the Philippines, the use of cyanide and explosives by local fishermen has damaged many of the region's coral reefs. In South Florida, a massive network of man-made dikes and levies to support agriculture and human development have deleteriously affected fresh water deliveries flowing into Florida Bay, which is thought to be a contributing factor to the substantial reductions in the productivity of many popular inshore and coral-reef game fishes.

Global environmental change is another concern. The depletion of the ozone and rising levels of greenhouse gases are believed to be causing changes in water temperatures in some regions. Even minute changes can disrupt spawning and migration patterns.

So where does hope lie? It might begin with a better understanding of the mechanisms that affect global fish populations. Such data can help policy makers gain support for controversial initiatives to protect and conserve our dwindling resources. A better understanding of the causal factors of Florida Bay's degradation, for example, has helped state and federal lawmakers push through hard-fought measures to restore much of the historic fresh water surface flow into the bay.

There is also a need to switch to less destructive and wasteful fishing methods to protect critical and sensitive habitats from development and overexploitation. Additional research in the field of aquaculture and hatchery science is also needed. Work being conducted at the University of Miami's Center for Sustainable Fisheries has shown that many fish species can be successfully bred in captivity and released in the wild. To date, the Center, working in conjunction with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, has raised and released nearly 300,000 red drum into Biscayne Bay. Other work may explore the possibility of raising farm-bred yellowtail snapper, dolphin fish, and sea trout.

Work on studying new breeding techniques for fish is also continuing. However, science alone will not solve the problem of global fish stock declines. To assure sustained, equitable access to our fish populations for generations to come, we must be willing to make whatever sacrifice necessary to protect this critical resource. The fish are disappearing from the world's oceans. If we don't respond soon, it might be too late.

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New diplomat brings expertise on Cuba

Rolando Bonachea, deputy director of the International Broadcasting Bureau's Office of Cuba Broadcasting and former director of Radio Martí, has been appointed as Diplomat in Residence at the North-South Center.

His appointment to the center, which began October 1, 1997, will last for at least one year and up to a maximum of two years, and was set up through a mutual agreement between the center and the United States Information Agency.

Rolando Bonachea Photo"I'm very pleased to be at the North-South Center where, in the company of many colleagues, I will undertake research and lectures on matters related to communications and the Cuban revolution," says Bonachea. "Miami offers tremendous resources for those of us who are interested in Cuba and Cuba-related issues."

While in the position, Bonachea, a specialist on Latin America and Cuba, will lecture on the impact of radio and television on the Cuban people, work extensively on research projects, write papers on Cuba-related issues, and give lectures on similar topics to faculty.

"I will be conducting research related to the U.S. policy toward Cuba," says Bonachea. "I will also be looking at Radio and Television Martí and the role of the media in a free society."

The assignment to the center is also beneficial in that it will help enhance the understanding of the International Broadcasting Bureau and its role in the international broadcasting and public diplomacy arenas, but more importantly, how these issues relate to Cuba, Bonachea says.

Bonachea has enjoyed an impressive career in both the private and public sectors and also brings extensive academic experience to the position.

He has written several books on the Cuban revolution including Fidel Castro: the Making of a Revolutionary, and Cuban Revolution: 1959-1979.

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Visiting Latin American Journalist Fellowship launched

CBS TeleNoticias has teamed up with the School of Communication to establish a fellowship to help future reporters in this country learn firsthand about the many challenges involved in covering news in Latin America. Part of the Westinghouse/CBS Broadcast Group, CBS TeleNoticias is the leading Spanish-language news channel in Latin America.

Group PhotoIn a ceremony on October 8, Edward Pfister, dean, School of Communication, and Francisco de la Torre, president, CBS TeleNoticias, announced the innovative program before members of the University's Board of Trustees, the media, and local dignitaries. The CBS TeleNoticias Latin American Visiting Journalist Fellowship was endowed through a grant from the CBS Foundation, enabling the School of Communication to bring six different journalists to campus for stays of up to ten days.

The only one of its kind in the United States, the year-long program will bring leading print and broadcast reporters from throughout the region to the University's Coral Gables campus to conduct workshops for students and faculty, serve as guest lecturers, and meet with local government, media, and business leaders.

"To have six top journalists here over the span of one year is absolutely extraordinary," says Pfister. "We commend the CBS Foundation for its farsightedness, and we welcome the foundation and CBS TeleNoticias to our University family."

"As the leading pan-regional Spanish-language news network in Latin America, CBS TeleNoticias is proud to be associated with a program designed to bring University students face to face with some of Latin America's most prominent journalists," de la Torre says. "I can think of no better way to instill in future journalists a firsthand understanding of the cultural and political issues facing the region."

The first visiting fellow was award-winning Peruvian writer and broadcaster Cesar Hildebrandt Peres Trevino, who discussed a number of issues including the current freedom-of-the-press battle that has been brewing in Peru. Other prominent journalists slated to visit in coming months include Argentine columnist and television journalist Mariano Grondona and Ramon Alberto Garza, managing editor of the Mexican newspaper, Reforma.

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Theatre ChairFilm series embodies Israeli culture

The third annual Miami Israeli Film Series premiered November 20 with Over the Ocean at the Bill Cosford Cinema. This year's series honors Israel's 50th anniversary, showcasing five contemporary Israeli films, one each month from November through March 1998. All films are in Hebrew with English subtitles.

The series is presented by Temple Beth Or, the Consulate General of Israel, and the University of Miami's Judaic Studies Program and is supported by the Metro-Dade County Board of County Commissioners and Community Investment Services of Homestead.

"Our aim is to offer the best of Israeli films to the South Dade community to bring greater understanding of Israeli culture," says Norma Salz, coordinator and series founder. "We've designed the series to be affordable and accessible so that everyone can benefit from this cultural resource."

The remaining scheduled films are The Flying Camel, December 11; The Italians are Coming, January 22; Cup Final, February 19; and Hamsin, March 19. For more information, call 305-598-5340.

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School of International Studies to open next year

Capitalizing on its reputation as a Pan-American university, the University of Miami will establish a School of International Studies and will formally begin accepting students in the fall of 1998. At that time, students will have a choice of enrolling in an undergraduate program, a professional master's program, or a research-intensive Ph.D. program in international studies.

The new school will be formed by merging the existing Graduate School of International Studies with the departments of geography and regional studies, which are currently part of the College of Arts and Sciences.

"The new school represents a more focused effort to develop a strong, interdisciplinary international program at the undergraduate level, in addition to our already existing graduate program," says Roger Kanet, dean of the Graduate School of International Studies and future dean of the new school. "The School of International Studies will provide an opportunity for the University of Miami to draw upon and use its excellent faculty resources."

What's more, the creation of the new school is a project that is long overdue, especially as Miami continues to act as the gateway to the Americas, and increasingly, the capital of the Americas. In 1994, for example, Miami hosted the Summit of the Americas, a hemispheric-wide conference which brought heads of state from across Latin America to South Florida to discuss political, economical, and social strategies for the region.

"We are in an ever more global environment, and nowhere is this more visible than in the City of Miami and the University of Miami, located at the crossroads of Latin America, North America, and the Caribbean," says Luis Glaser, executive vice president and provost. "The long-standing interest and commitment of this University to international studies will be expanded by this new school, which will provide unique and important educational opportunities to our students." The new school will also work closely with the University's North-South Center, a public policy institute.

University officials are also hopeful that the new school will help attract a larger number of students, particularly from Latin America, to the University.

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Gardner to chair Department of Medicine

Laurence B. Gardner, professor and interim chairman of the Department of Medicine at the School of Medicine, was recently named permanent chairman of the department.

Laurence Gardner PhotoSince joining the University of Miami in 1974, Gardner has led the development of teaching and patient-care programs for the department. He also served as program director for eight years, chief of general medicine for 20 years, and vice chairman of the department for ten years.

"Dr. Gardner has led the department extremely well over the past three years and certainly has earned this position and has proven to be a superb leader for our entire school," says John G. Clarkson, dean and senior vice president for medical affairs.

In addition to his University roles, Gardner is a member of the National Board of Medical Examiners and has served as the chairman of the Step III Committee of the United States Medical Licensing Exam for the past three years. He also is an active member of the Association of Professors of Medicine and serves on the program committee for its annual meeting.

Gardner received his bachelor's degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and holds a medical degree from Harvard Medical School. He received his post-graduate training at the Massachusetts General Hospital and at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

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Veritas goes online

Now much of the useful information and spellbinding articles of Veritas can be found on the web.

Veritas Web SiteVeritas' new web site address is http://www.miami.edu/veritas/. It can also be accessed through the "Visitor's Guide" and "Faculty/Staff Resources" menu buttons found on the University's main web site.

The cover of the latest issue appears on its home page, with a list of options to choose from. The "under construction" signs have been replaced by the main features of Veritas. These include the front page, "What's News," "To Your Benefit," and the "Top of the Class" sections. Articles listed on the cover may also be accessed by clicking on the headlines.

For added convenience, past issues beginning with November 1997 may be accessed through the "Veritas Archive" option also located on the home page.

Now anyone who visits the University of Miami web site can easily peruse an issue of Veritas online to find out what we're all about. Our readership is now virtually limitless!

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Boat Race PhotoBraving the open Osceola

It was win, sink, or swim for these students, who competed in the University's Annual Cardboard Boat Race sponsored by the School of Architecture and the American Institute of Architecture Students. Always a crowd pleaser, the wet 'n' wild event features a host of creative cardboard vessels designed by University students in attempts at seaworthiness. Awards were given to the fastest boat and crew to make it across the lake, most creative boat, and most dramatic failure.

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