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Balsalobre-Fernandez C.,Autonomous University of Madrid | Tejero-Gonzalez C.M.,Autonomous University of Madrid | Campo-Vecino J.D.,Autonomous University of Madrid | Bavaresco N.,Scientific Committee
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research | Year: 2014

Balsalobre-Fernández, C, Tejero-Gonzá lez, CM, del Campo- Vecino, J, and Bavaresco, N. The concurrent validity and reliability of a low-cost, high-speed camera-based method for measuring the flight time of vertical jumps. J Strength Cond Res 28(2): 528-533, 2014-Flight time is the most accurate and frequently used variable when assessing the height of vertical jumps. The purpose of this study was to analyze the validity and reliability of an alternative method (i.e., the HSC-Kinovea method) for measuring the flight time and height of vertical jumping using a lowcost high-speed Casio Exilim FH-25 camera (HSC). To this end, 25 subjects performed a total of 125 vertical jumps on an infrared (IR) platform while simultaneously being recorded with a HSC at 240 fps. Subsequently, 2 observers with no experience in video analysis analyzed the 125 videos independently using the openlicense Kinovea 0.8.15 software. The flight times obtained were then converted into vertical jump heights, and the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC), Bland-Altman plot, and Pearson correlation coefficient were calculated for those variables. The results showed a perfect correlation agreement (ICC = 1, p < 0.0001) between both observers' measurements of flight time and jump height and a highly reliable agreement (ICC = 0.997, p < 0.0001) between the observers' measurements of flight time and jump height using the HSC-Kinovea method and those obtained using the IR system, thus explaining 99.5% (p < 0.0001) of the differences (shared variance) obtained using the IR platform. As a result, besides requiring no previous experience in the use of this technology, the HSC-Kinovea method can be considered to provide similarly valid and reliable measurements of flight time and vertical jump height as more expensive equipment (i.e., IR). As such, coaches from many sports could use the HSCKinovea method to measure the flight time and height of their athlete's vertical jumps. © 2014 National Strength and Conditioning Association.

News Article | April 20, 2016
Site: www.rdmag.com

The latest scientific assessment paints a likely bleak future for the Pacific bluefin tuna, a sushi lovers' favorite whose population has dropped by more than 97 percent from its historic levels. A draft summary of a report by the International Scientific Committee for Tuna and Tuna-like Species in the North Pacific Ocean seen by The Associated Press shows the current population of bluefin tuna is estimated at 2.6 percent of its "unfished" size. A previous assessment put the population at an already dire 4.2 percent. Overfishing has continued despite calls to reduce catches to allow the species to recover. In some areas, bluefin tuna is harvested at triple the levels considered to be sustainable. "The situation is really as bad as it appears," said Amanda Nickson, director for Global Tuna Conservation at The Pew Charitable Trusts. Limits imposed after the previous estimates actually allowed some countries to up their catches, she said. "If those managers again fail to act in a conservation-minded way this time, it may be time for other actions, such as an international trade ban or complete fishing moratorium," Nickson said. The independent scientists who compiled the report said improved data make them more confident in their latest estimates than in previous ones. The report is due to be reviewed by the committee in July. The report estimated that in 2014, the total recruitment level of the fish, or the percentage of new fish that survive each year, was below 3.7 million fish, the second lowest level ever. Under current levels of reproduction and management of the fisheries in the Pacific, the likelihood of rebuilding stocks to healthy levels is only 0.1 percent, the report says. Cutting catches by a fifth would improve those odds to only 3 percent. Japanese eat about 80 percent of all bluefin tuna caught worldwide, and stocks of all three bluefin species — the Pacific, Southern and Atlantic — have fallen over the past 15 years as demand for the luscious, buttery pink-to-red fleshed fish has soared globally. Organizations charged with helping to manage bluefin fisheries have set a goal of rebuilding the species' population to 6.4 percent, or 42,592 metric tons, of unfished levels by 2024. But 6.4 percent levels for a species like the Pacific bluefin, which can live for up to 40 years, are no guarantee of a recovery. Many experts believe 20 percent of historic levels is the minimum size for a sustainable fishery. The international body that monitors fisheries in most of the Pacific Ocean, the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, was unable to reach consensus last year on either short-term or long-term measures to help restore the bluefin population. In Europe, officials have agreed last month on implementing a recovery plan for bluefin tuna in the eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean. A next step by conservationists could include efforts to get Pacific bluefin tuna banned from international trading. Pacific bluefin tuna are spawned in the western parts of the northern Pacific but migrate throughout the ocean, complicating management of catches. The population of the species is estimated to have peaked in 1960. An earlier estimate put the 2014 population of the bluefin at 26,000 tons. The most recent reduced that estimate by 9,000 tons, to 17,000 tons. If the population of Pacific bluefins drops much further, it may no longer be economically feasible to fish for them. At that point, "Pacific bluefin would be considered commercially extinct," Nickson said.

News Article
Site: www.nature.com

As Japan's commissioner to the International Whaling Commission (IWC), I disagree that the IWC's review process of scientific whaling is “a waste of time” ( and Nature 529, 283; 2016). The process comprises an independent expert-panel review and a wider review by the IWC Scientific Committee. Research proponents have no say in the expert panel's conclusions. Japan has given due regard to the IWC's criticisms after peer review of its NEWREP-A proposal, which gave the scientific rationale for lethal sampling (see go.nature.com/wqpxyb; go.nature.com/vxjaz6). Brierley and Clapham say that Japan failed to alter its research plans “in any meaningful way” following recommendations by the IWC Scientific Committee that it should explore widely used non-lethal alternatives. In fact, those methods were included in the research plans for evaluation in light of the research objectives. As the International Court of Justice recognized in 2014, certain data cannot be obtained by non-lethal methods (see go.nature.com/fboxrt). Japan's new research programme includes both lethal and non-lethal research methods. The authors' allegation that Japan's whaling is “ostensibly” for research is no basis for proper scientific debate. Japan has made clear that it is always willing to answer questions on its research programme (see go.nature.com/dut2kx), and looks forward to constructive scientific discussion at the committee's June meeting.

A whale is captured by the Yushin Maru, a Japanese harpoon vessel. This image was taken by Australian customs agents in 2008, under a surveillance effort to collect evidence of indiscriminate harvesting, which is contrary to Japan's claim that More Japan sent two whaling ships back to Antarctica's Southern Ocean today (Dec. 1) after a one-year hiatus, resuming seasonal whale hunts that have come under increasing scrutiny and censure from the international community. Under a revised whaling plan, Japan proposes to kill 333 minke whales this year for research purposes — significantly fewer than past years' annual kill limit of 935 whales. Japan's Institute of Cetacean Research (ICR), which oversees the country's whaling program, stated on its website that researchers will study the whales' fish consumption and measure their competition with fisheries, creating ecosystem models for managing marine resources. "The purpose of Japan's research is science — science that will ensure that when commercial whaling is resumed, it will be sustainable," ICR claimed on its website. However, statements from environmental officials in Australia and the United States express skepticism that killing any whales is necessary for data collection. Greg Hunt, Australia's minister for the environment, said in a statement that the Australian government "strongly opposes" Japan's decision to return to the Southern Ocean to hunt whales. He added that the International Whaling Commission's (IWC) Scientific Committee put forward "significant questions about the science underpinning Japan's new whaling plan, [called] NEWREP-A, which are yet to be satisfactorily addressed." [To Protect Whales, US Diplomacy Needs Teeth (Op-Ed)] From the U.S., Russell F. Smith III, deputy assistant secretary for international fisheries at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and U.S. commissioner to the IWC, expressed similar concerns. "Japan had not justified the need for lethal whaling to carry out its research," he said in a statement. "Unfortunately, rather than giving itself time to modify its research program to fully address these issues, Japan has decided to restart its program now." Commercial whaling conducted by most countries ended decades ago, following a 1986 ban issued by the IWC, a global organization empowered to manage whaling industries, evaluate threats to whale populations and oversee conservation. But the IWC permits whaling in international waters if the hunt is conducted for research purposes. Soon after the 1986 ban, Japan launched its scientific whaling program, conducted by the Institute of Cetacean Research. According to the IWC's guidelines for the research permits, the Institute of Cetacean Research is allowed to process byproducts of the whaling program, such as whale meat, and sell it for consumption. In 1994, the IWC designated the Southern Ocean as a whale sanctuary, but Japanese officials claimed that their research program provided exemption, even in the newly protected area. The hunts continued, and approximately 14,000 whales were killed between 1986 and 2014, according to the International Fund for Animal Welfare. Australia has long been a vocal critic of Japanese whaling, and in 2008, the country successfully banned Japan's whaling fleets from the Australian Whale Sanctuary in Antarctica. In 2010, Australia went even further, bringing action against Japan in the International Court of Justice to halt the scientific whaling program in its entirety. In 2014, Australia appeared to win a significant victory, as the International Court of Justice found that Japan's "scientific" research failed to meet the standards laid out by the IWC, and the court ordered a halt to the whaling. In spite of the ruling, Japanese whaling vessels Yushin Maru and Yushin Maru No. 2 departed from Shimonoseki Port for the Southern Ocean. Two more ships are scheduled to join them, bringing the total number of crewmembers on the whaling mission to 160. Their work is scheduled to begin later this month, though not without close scrutiny on the global stage. "The United States will continue to engage with the Government of Japan in an effort to address U.S. concerns with Japan's new lethal research program," Smith said. "We believe all of Japan's primary research objectives can be met through nonlethal activities and continue to oppose their scientific whaling programs." Follow Mindy Weisberger on Twitter and Google+. Follow us @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Original article on Live Science. Copyright 2015 LiveScience, a Purch company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

News Article
Site: www.nature.com

Japanese whalers are back in the Southern Ocean, aiming to kill 333 minke whales — ostensibly for the purposes of scientific research — under special permits issued by their government. In our view, the science behind Japan's whaling activity has not passed a reasonable standard of peer review. We are members of the International Whaling Commission's Scientific Committee (IWC-SC), plus one independent expert witness (M. Mangel) whose evidence contributed to the March 2014 negative ruling on Japan's JARPA II whaling permit by the International Court of Justice (ICJ; see Nature 520, 157; 2015). In 2015, Japan submitted a new whaling proposal (NEWREP-A). The IWC-SC coordinated two rounds of review, including one by an independent expert panel that concluded that lethal sampling had not been justified. Numerous IWC-SC members recommended exploration of widely used non-lethal alternatives (see, for example, et al. Mol. Ecol. Resour. 14, 976–987; 2014) before killing is resumed. Japan claims to have “sincerely taken into account” the IWC-SC's opinion, but, as on previous occasions, has failed to alter its plans in any meaningful way and is proceeding to kill whales under a self-determined quota. In October 2015, Japan also rejected the jurisdiction of the ICJ on this issue. We believe that further discussion of special-permit whaling at IWC-SC under the present procedure — in which the opinion of proposers is afforded equal weight to that of referees — is a waste of time. The IWC urgently needs to develop a process of scientific review that results in clear decisions that can be respected by all.

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