Jan 18 2011

Dr. Ray Hilborn Discusses the State of World Fisheries, and more…[Video]

“Doomsday will come to fishes across the world’s oceans by 2048.”  That was the startling implication of findings published in 2006 by marine ecologist Boris Worm of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, and several colleagues.

The projection, published in a paper in Science magazine, was about the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem services in the oceans, and concluded that the world’s oceans were in bad shape, in part because of overfishing.

But many fisheries scientists were appalled.  In fact, one prominent critic was Dr. Ray Hilborn, a professor in the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington, specializing in natural resource management and conservation.

Trained in quantitative techniques for determining the abundance of fish stocks, Hilborn and others  questioned the methods used in Worm’s global assessment.  The conflict continued a charged and long-simmering debate between marine ecologists and fisheries scientists about the status of the world’s ocean ecosystems.

Yet, less than a year later, as recounted in a Science magazine article entitled “Détante in the Fisheries War,” Hilborn and Worm began meeting on neutral ground to hammer out their differences. Working under the auspices of the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis(NCEAS) in Santa Barbara, California, Hilborn and Worm brought together some 20 scientists from their respective disciplines as well as dozens of graduate students.

Initial results from this collaboration were published in the July 31, 2009 issue of Science magazine: Rebuilding Global Fisheries.

A new series of videos posted on WorldNews provides a video account of the highlights of this ground-breaking research.  Three videos feature Dr. Hilborn on the state of the world’s fisheries. Another video, including interviews with both Hilborn and Boris Worm, highlights findings in the Rebuilding Global Fisheries study, and yet another video presents Dr. Hilborn’s remarks at a Science Advisory Team meeting of the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative in southern California, critiquing the state’s rigid size and spacing guidelines governing marine protected area placement in the Golden State.

The first three videos are posted below:

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