World Fisheries Day, celebrated on November 21, is a day to focus on the sustainability of this most important food resource. More than two-thirds of the world's fisheries have been overfished and more than one third are in a state of decline because of loss of essential fish habitats, pollution, and global warming.
Depletion of the world’s fisheries is another example of the Tragedy of the Commons. Unless we address these issues collectively, the crisis will deepen. Research, education and multi-nation political action is needed to stem this tide. The Port Stephens Fisheries Institute near Nelson Bay has some 42 staff working on fisheries research, with key projects on: developing technology for new or existing aquaculture industries; oysters; and assessing the health of marine and estuarine species, habitats or ecosystems.
The University of Newcastle marine research scientists at the Ourimbah campus work closely with PFSI on understanding baseline marine and estuarine ecosystem interactions and how these are impacted by environmental changes.
The latest -omic technologies are being used to monitor the effects of environmental changes, particularly global warming, on marine organisms.
Much of this work is carried out by research students on their way to becoming our future scientists. My congratulations to Carol Martin, a PhD student at Ourimbah who recently won the best student poster at the Estuarine and Coastal Sciences Association Conference held in Perth recently.
Cultural ecosystem services are the non-material benefits obtained from ecosystems that contribute to human wellbeing through aesthetic and recreational experiences, spiritual enrichment and cognitive development. The Central Coast Marine Discovery Centre on the shores of Terrigal Lagoon is aimed at a younger demographic and is well worth a visit. The Centre runs educational and experiential activities for local and regional tourists.
However, at the end of the day it is how we behave as individuals that is going to have the greatest influence on the survival of fish in the sea for our grandchildren to enjoy.