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How does ocean health impact life and livelihoods? [podcast]

June is National Ocean Month in the United States, and earlier this month, the whole world observed World Oceans Day, a day that has been celebrated since 2008 with a different theme each year. The theme for 2021 was “Life and Livelihoods.”

Covering 71% of the earth’s surface, the ocean is home to a vast array of life—an estimated 2.2 million species—and provides livelihoods for 40 million people in the fishing industry. But many scientists warn that the health of our oceans is in decline, threatening these species and the humans who depend on them.

The threats to our oceans’ health are multifold, and include deep-sea mining, offshore drilling, and ocean acidification. On today’s episode of The Oxford Comment, we are joined by biological oceanographer Lisa Levin of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and contributor to Natural Capital and Exploitation of the Deep Ocean, and Ray Hilborn, a professor at the University of Washington and co-author of Ocean Recovery: A Sustainable Future for Global Fisheries? We tapped into their expertise to better understand the threats posed by overfishing, climate change, and biodiversity loss.

Check out Episode 62 of The Oxford Comment and subscribe to The Oxford Comment podcast through your favourite podcast app to listen to the latest insights from our expert authors.

Recommended reading

Explore our selection of books on ocean health and read free chapters by our podcast contributors.

  1. Natural Capital and Exploitation of the Deep Ocean edited by Maria Baker, Eva Ramirez-Llodra, and Paul Tyler

The deep ocean is the planet’s largest biome and holds a wealth of potential natural assets. This book gives a comprehensive account of its geological and physical processes, ecology and biology, exploitation, management, and conservation. You can read the introduction, here.

  1. Ocean Recovery: A sustainable future for global fisheries? by Ray Hilborn and Ulrike Hilborn

The book provides a clear, engaging, and scientifically based description of the major controversies and contentions surrounding the world’s fisheries. Read a free chapter on “The Environmental Impacts of Fishing,” here.

  1. Overfishing: What Everyone Needs to Know® by Ray Hilborn and Ulrike Hilborn

This title provides a balanced explanation of the broad issues associated with overfishing. Guiding readers through the scientific, political, economic, and ethical issues associated with harvesting fish from the ocean, it will provide answers to questions about which fisheries are sustainably managed and which are not.

  1. Ecology of Coastal Marine Sediments: Form, Function, and Change in the Anthropocene by Simon Thrush, Judi Hewitt, Conrad Pilditch, and Alf Norkko

This accessible textbook provides an ideal point of entry into the field, providing basic information on the nature of soft-sediment ecosystems, examples of how and why we research them, the new questions these studies inspire, and the applications that ultimately benefit society.

  1. Fishery Ecosystem Dynamics by Michael J. Fogarty and Jeremy S. Collie

This book illuminates the deep and often underappreciated connections between basic ecology and fishery science, and explores the implications of these linkages in crafting management strategies for the 21st century.

  1. Marine Pollution: What Everyone Needs to Know® by Judith S. Weis

This title is an overview of the issues surrounding marine pollution, including topics like its origin, marine debris, oil, and climate change.

Lastly, read the Nature article discussed in Ray Hilborn’s interview, which identifies bottom-trawling as a source of CO2 emissions, here.

Featured image: Knut Troim, CC0 via Unsplash.

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