Det matematisk-naturvitenskapelige fakultet

Key to ocean sustainability: Not everything not everywhere not all at once

Talk from U. Rashid Sumaila on Ocean sustainability. Rashid is Professor and Canada Research Chair in Interdisciplinary Ocean and Fisheries Economics at the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, and the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, University of British Columbia and co-winner of the 2023 Tyler Prize in Environmental Achievement.

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The ocean is fundamental to life on earth. It is 70% of earth’s surface and it is the home of an amazing collection of diverse marine habitats and  life. The ocean is a source of food and nutritional security for billions of people worldwide; it is a backbone of international trade through the extensive shipping industry that spans the world. It is a huge source of inspiration and creativity through science, innovation, culture and arts. In fact, one can argue that the ocean is our life because it generates ~50% of the oxygen on earth; absorbs a large amount of the heat generated by human activities; and sequesters a significant portion of the anthropogenic C02 emitted, thereby reducing the intensity of the global boiling, flooding and burning currently threatening lives and livelihoods all over the world. It Is therefore of utmost importance that we sustain the ocean into the very distant future. But are we interacting with the ocean in a sustainable manner? I address this question in this talk and conclude by suggesting how we can begin to move away from what has been described as Vanishing Fish, the fact that humans are putting too much pressure on ocean ecosystems and marine life via overfishing and pollution, to a world that can be characterized as Infinity Fish, i.e., the notion that if the ocean and the fish it sustains are managed wisely they can continue to give us benefits forever.

* Sumaila is an alumni of the Department of Economics, University of Bergen, and the co-winner of the 2023 Tyler Prize in Environmental Achievement. He also worked at the Chr. Michelsens Institute