Resuscitating Our Seas; Noted UNH Oceans Expert To Address Annual AAAS Meeting
By David Sims, Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space
February 20, 2008
Using the techniques of modern science alongside a historical understanding
of the plentiful oceans from bygone days, UNH ocean policy and fisheries expert
Andrew A. Rosenberg will help address the issue of how to best protect and
manage the planet’s imperiled ocean resources at this year’s American
Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in Boston February
Rosenberg, a professor at the Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and
Space and department of natural resources, and a former commissioner of the
U. S. Commission on Ocean Policy, will both convene and present at multiple
sessions, which vary topically but are centered around a common theme: the
rich historical diversity of ocean ecosystems contrasted with the depleted
seas of today.
“Clearly, ocean ecosystems were very much more productive in the past.
We need to learn from our mistakes and find new approaches to foster recovery.
Some progress has been made but there is a long way to go,” Rosenberg
New approaches range from the continued refinement of fishing privileges to
the emerging, all-encompassing method of “ecosystem-based management” of
Ecosystem-based management seeks to tie the disparate ocean-related puzzle
pieces together so that policies put in place can be most effective when confronted
with the inevitable trade-offs between ecosystem “services” – from
seafood to erosion control to recreation.
“While it’s certainly true that overfishing has been a major impact,
so have coastal development, changes in river sources, changes in habitat,
and other kinds of utilization and exploitation,” says Rosenberg, who
is also one of three senior scientists with the Communication Partnership for
Science and the Sea or COMPASS – a nationwide, collaborative effort dedicated
to advancing and communicating marine conservation science.
The work Rosenberg is doing in conjunction with COMPASS will develop scientific
advice for policymakers here in New England as well as nationally.
At the AAAS meeting, Rosenberg notes, “We’ll be talking about
how you go beyond the concept of everything being connected to figuring out
how you implement a management system that is integrated and connected.”
Just as climate change experts rely on computer simulations to forecast climate
scenarios, ocean scientists will develop models to implement an ecosystem-based
Says Rosenberg, “And that’s a big challenge. Where do you get
the data? How do you create a model that’s not so complex you have no
confidence in the outputs?” He adds that an effort to answer such questions
is currently underway via a collaborative project with ocean experts all around
New England, including himself and his Ph.D. student Verna DeLauer, who is
working for COMPASS on a new integrated suite of models that can assess the
true value of ecosystem services.
For details on the AAAS presentations, visit http://www.aaas.org/meetings/Annual_Meeting.
For more on COMPASS visit http://www.compassonline.org.