Courtesy of the British Antarctic Survey
This week's guardedly encouraging study on the state of the world's fisheries, which The Christian Science Monitor covered yesterday, is in many ways a milestone. It acknowledges the problem with overfishing, but also highlights current budding success stories, and the tools fisheries managers used to write them. And it represents a consensus among leading scientists who in the past have been at loggerheads over the health of the world's fisheries.
You can find a summary of the study at the journal Science's website. The full pdf is available by subscription.
But buried deep in comments members of the research team made during a press briefing on the study, University of Washington fisheries scientist Ray Hilborn added a strong caution that had nothing to do with nets, fishing fleets, or no-take zones.
"All bets are off with climate change, particularly ocean acidification," said Dr. Hilborn, one of the study's two lead authors.
"People still haven't really understood the potential impacts of ocean acidification," Dr. Goldburg said during a phone chat.
And therein lies the rub. The progress humanity makes against the against loss of (fill in your favorite ecosystem here) depends at least as much on weaning ourselves from carbon-based fuel sources as it does setting aside linked reserves, controlling chemical pollution and protecting or restoring habitat, or implementing any number of other important measures to protect ecosystems.