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Environment Magazine September/October 2008


July-August 2010

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Managing Marine Resources Sustainably

Increasing demand for ocean resources due to population growth and economic expansion has raised concern about the sustainability of the ocean resources and amenities that contribute to the well-being of people around the globe. Highly productive fisheries have collapsed, marine and coastal habitats have been lost or degraded, and carbon dioxide from fossil fuels is changing the climate and some of the basic properties of the marine environment. These stresses increase the urgency of developing sustainable practices for activities in the ocean. Of the ocean's renewable resources, fish are probably the most pressing concern to people around the world. The sustainability of the ocean's fisheries is essential for the well-being of people in both developing and industrialized nations, through markets that range from local to global in scale. Seafood is the major source of protein for more than 1 billion people internationally, while about 44 million depend on fishing or fish farming for their livelihood. Because seafood provides an immediate connection between the ocean and people, we discuss fish production in terms of managing the wild harvest and developing sustainable aquaculture practices.

S. J. Roberts is the director of the Ocean Studies Board at the National Research Council where she has worked since 1998. She received her B.S. in zoology from Duke University and Ph.D. in marine biology from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. She has undertaken research on fish physiology, symbiosis, and developmental biology. At the National Research Council, she has conducted many studies on marine resource issues such as marine protected areas, ecosystem effects of fishing, and endangered species.

K. H. Brink is a physical oceanographer at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, where he has worked since 1980. He was educated at Cornell (B.S.) and Yale (Ph.D.). His research concentrates on currents over the continental shelf, and their implications. His service as President of The Oceanography Society, and as Chair of the National Research Council's Ocean Studies Board, have involved him in a range of practical concerns about the ocean.

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