Reconciling biodiversity conservation and marine capture fisheries production

Friday Seminar by Keith Brander



Marine ecosystems have been impacted by human activity over several centuries due to fishing, extraction of gravel and minerals, pollution, eutrophication, habitat disturbance, noise etc. The consequent changes in marine ecosystems have been mainly unintentional and undirected. Both quantitatively and qualitatively, land ecosystems have been altered far more than the oceans, but on land most of the changes have been intentional and directed (getting rid of predators and pests, creating monoculture crops, trait-based selection etc.) to produce a high, stable food supply, timber, cities and roads, water resources etc. Agriculture developed over millennia without the benefit of scientific research departments. Ordinary people can see and understand what is happening to their crops and livestock and with the advent of enclosure and ownership they could take control of the production process. The sea is very different. We are reliant on scientists to tell us how the systems work; we have not learned how to enhance food production from the sea and are reliant, as hunter-gatherers, on natural production. Increasing public and political concern about human population pressure on food production and biodiversity sharpens the need to define our objectives in relation to conservation and food. Pathways for moving towards the goals of biodiversity conservation and food security in terrestrial systems include the application of trait-based ecology to develop highly productive agroecosystems with less negative effects on biodiversity. What can we learn by comparing our attitudes towards objectives in terrestrial and marine situations? Are there common management approaches, such as Ecosystem Based Management, for terrestrial and marine systems? Can the goals of maximising fisheries production and maintaining biodiversity be achieved simultaneously? What pathways are there towards “satisficing” solutions?

Keith Brander
DTU Aqua - Institute of Aquatic Resources, Technical University of Denmark, Charlottenlund Slot, DK-2920 Charlottenlund

Published Feb. 3, 2012 3:33 PM