Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Leatherback Turtle & Ram

"Present fishing practices will eventually drive sensitive species such as sharks, some of the turtles, and other long lived species like blue fin tuna and blue marlin extinct simply because they are being caught at rates that are simply unsustainable,"
Dr. Ransom Myers
US Senate Commerce Committee

Ram with a leatherback turtle while doing fieldwork with the Canadian Sea Turtle Network in Cape Breton
Photo provided by Kathleen Martin, Executive Director,

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

My brother

Ransom Myers (RAM) always loved me, unconditionally and without judgement. My life has been better because he was my brother. The world is better for having such an innovative, creative, determined and fearless scientist. Many people, including those at Myers Lab at Dalhousis, will carry on his mission. And I will have to figure out how to carry on without my brother.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Ability to See; Courage to See

"There are people on this Earth who have the ability to see things that others can not, and the courage to say what they see. You (Ransom Myers) are one of those men." Elin Kelsey, Monterey, California

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Happier Times

No RAM doesn't look like Tom Cruise!

Photo by Eric Wynne / Herald
Real-life hero faces eternity’s curveballBy MICHAEL HARRIS

"...heroes are not nearly as plentiful as the nightly news would have you believe. They almost never look like Tom Cruise....Somewhere in a Halifax hospital a true Canadian hero is lying in bed awaiting either a miracle or the end. Just before Christmas, this 54-year-old scientist was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour and is now in critical condition. His name is Ransom Myers and chances are you have never heard of him...."

For the rest of the article, click
This column first appeared in the Ottawa Sun and was linked in this blog under "Hero of the Seas."

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Ram's 1st trip to Canada

Ram's first visit to Canada was a canoe trip to Algonquin Park in the summer of 1965. This picture was taken just before the boys departed from Alexandria Virginia. Ram, then known as "Randy," is the boy in the front with the ears and the glasses. The blond boy in the front is second cousin John Howie from Jackson Mississippi. In the back row from left to right are Clant Seay of Jackson Mississippi, Dr. Abbott Ferriss and his sons Will and John. At the time, the Ferrisses were living in Alexandria Virgina where Dr. Ferriss was the Asst. Study Director at the National Science Foundation and a professor of Sociology. I believe he was also working on his book, Indicators of Trends in American Education, at the time. Today, Dr. Abbott Ferris almost 92 years old and still publishing and speaking on poverty. Dr. Ferriss is our first cousin once removed. It was Dr. Ferriss who provided the previously posted picture of Ram's great grandfather, who he resembles. Dr. Ferriss was instrumental in Ram's early life because he introduced Ram to camping, Canada, and the academic life.

Monday, January 22, 2007


"Lots of us KNOW what is the right thing to do. Ram is a guy who DOES it."
Paul Falvo, Yellowknife

"I love the way you say it like it is; no butter required. No one else creates such a powerful first and last impression." Craig Purchase on Ram, DFO St. John's, Newfoundland

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Fans of Ram: Brain Cancer

Fans of Ram: Brain Cancer

Hero of the Seas

Author Michael Harris on RAM: "You hear a lot of loose talk these days about heroes.

Like saints, heroes are not nearly as plentiful as the nightly news would have you believe. They almost never look like Tom Cruise. Unlike their cartoon counterparts, they have only one precarious life.

Somewhere in a Halifax hospital a true Canadian hero is lying in bed awaiting either a miracle or the end. Just before Christmas, this 54-year-old scientist was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour and is now in critical condition. His name is Ransom Myers.

In his time, Myers was the bureaucracy's worst nightmare..."

For the rest of the article, go to Ottawa Sun: Michael Harris is the author of Lament for an Ocean, an investigation of why the cod fishery in AtlanticCanada was destroyed by political incompetence/treachery and short-sightedgreed.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

hymatsuda on RAM

A friend of RAM from Japan posted this on his blog: "This is unbelievable news to me. I met RAM at Reykjavik last June. He was very active and looked well. Two weeks ago, Boris wrote me, Ram was very tired from receiving radiation. I feel Ram's family are also very tired from nursing. His has young children. First I met Ram at Montrey probably in 1996, Ram looked for raw data of Japanese fisheries. I met him again at Esbjerg in 2000. He was very kind to me and invited me into F-MAP group. He invited me Halifax in 2002. We celebrated his 50th birthday party. Ram suceeded to get raw data of Japense longline fisheries, to analyze the data, and to publish a big result. Ram also succeeded to get his young colleagues. RAM has a strong team at Halifax for FMAP."

Friday, January 19, 2007

Dr. Jeff Hutchings on RAM

George Lilly, Ram Myers, Jeff Hutchings Department of Fisheries & Oceans, St. John’s, Newfoundland
December 1994 Photograph taken in JH’s office, commemorating our receipt of the 1993 Wilfred Templeman Publication Award for: Hutchings, J.A., Myers, R.A., and G.R. Lilly. 1993. Geographic variation in the spawning of Atlantic cod, Gadus morhua, in the Northwest Atlantic. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 50: 2457-2467.

"Ram has an uncanny ability to take disparate sets of data and bring it all together to address fundamentally important questions."

"He has highlighted the demise and declines of marine fishes and brought it to the attention of people that previously hadn't been aware of it and that was groundbreaking."

"He's been outspoken within and outside DFO," he said. "I wrote a paper in 1997 and cited a letter of reprimand he had received from his directors at DFO . saying he was not supposed to speak on certain things."

"I think Ram's contribution really will ultimately be his ability to communicate important issues about marine conservation biology to as broad an audiuence as possible. His work absolutely and quite appropriately provokes. We've needed the scientifically driven provocations by Ram to force us to look very carefully at our oceans."

--Dr. Jeff Hutchings, marine biologist, Dalhousie University, published almost 20 papers with Ram. (as quoted in article by ALISON AULD, published in Canada East, Wednesday January 17th, 2007

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Brain Cancer

The Hamilton Spectator reported today, "A Canadian scientist renowned for his groundbreaking research and blunt warnings about the extinction of marine species around the world has been hospitalized with an inoperable brain tumour. Ransom Myers, 54, a marine biologist who's been a vocal critic of Ottawa's management of Canadian fisheries, is reportedly in critical condition in hospital after being diagnosed in November 2006 with a rare form of brain cancer."

Sunday, January 7, 2007

A big difference in a short time.

Last Spring I was invited to the Biology Department at Dal to give a seminar, by a very old friend - Hal Whitehead. While there he introduced me to RAM. I had read his papers and knew of him but that was it. After my talk we sat down in his office and there was no option - the force was there to spill my cares and worries about survival of the North Atlantic right whale species. I really don't remember what exactly we talked about, but the upshot was that about a week later a draft paper arrived from RAM. I guess I had been complaining about the density of lobster gear in the US side of the Gulf of Maine especially in the summer, and what that represented in terms of gear entanglement risk. It is the chronic entanglement cases that really eat me up as I do many of the forensic right whale necropsies that have become all too common on the eastern seaboard. One of the things I have to do is recreate in my mind the likely sequelae that lead to their ultimate demise. It has become obvious that these animals, when entangled, are in excruciating pain for an average of about 6 months before they die. It is as if they were hanged over that period.

Well - RAM, Boris and others took that thought and translated it in to an elegant comparison of US and Canadian lobster fisheries and the result is a paper due out on Tuesday showing the ridiculous over capitalization of the US fishery, with some very real ways in which things could improve. I wish with all my heart that two things could happen. That we can a) fix the issues threatening the survival of the right whale species, and b) RAM has a miraculous recovery. We need him desperately.

The issues that ail the right whale are a microcosm of what ails the world. The world can survive the loss of that one species, but it can't survive the generic forces causing that loss.


Saturday, January 6, 2007

Indentify & Publicize

“We identified this problem,

publicized it,

got the front page

of the New York Times, and

that's why we're in Fortune.”

Dr Ransom Myers


Thursday, January 4, 2007

Learning Differences

For all you parents out there with a child who is a late reader...who is an eternally erroneous speller with unintelligible handwriting....know that Dr. Ransom Myers was such a child.
And yet, despite his elementary teachers predictions, Dr. Ransom Myers has generated over 100 peer reviewed scientific publications and is an influential force in the effort to prevent overfishing and extinction in the oceans.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

"It's important to speak up."

"If you know something that's important for conservation or policy,whether it's improving the lives of fishermen or saving the lives ofsharks . . . you say it clearly and carefully," Mr. Myers said in aninterview after the session."You're irresponsible not to," he said, pointing to the collapse ofthe northern cod stocks as a dangerous example of what happens whenpeople aren't properly informed. "There was virtually no one from theuniversities or government speaking up. It's important to speak up."