Friday, 21 June 2013

The Ocean of Life - Talk in Edinburgh 2nd July

Professor Callum Roberts will speak about humanity's effects on the oceans in a talk at the University of Edinburgh's Appleton Tower on the 2nd July.  This talk starts at 6:30pm and is free to attend, you can register your attendance here.

Callum Roberts takes us on a voyage beneath the waves to reveal the seas as few know them.  He shows how human activities have for centuries been unpicking the fabric of marine life.  He suggests that we are transforming life in the sea, and with it undermining our own existence.  

The images he will share in this special lecture are not a catalogue of unavoidable disasters ahead.  They illustrate an ambitious plan to reverse long-term trends of depletion and degradation, recapitalise the value of the oceans to people and wildlife, and improve the quality of everyone's lives, especially of generations still to come.

"We don't have to look on helplessly as all that we love about the sea is sulliedChange for good is within our reach".

Leo Hickman wrote in the Guardian last year "Callum Roberts' Ocean of Life is a manifesto for marine management.  The book calls for a new deal for the world's oceans – and explains why we need to save the seas to survive on land".

One part of the solution - so timely for Scotland - says Roberts, is the establishment of a network of marine protected areas (MPAs).  This summer the Scottish Government will propose via a public consultation a network of MPAs for Scottish waters.  Roberts will highlight a working example from the north east Atlantic to prove it can be achieved.  This was protected in a bold move for the protection of the high seas by the OSPAR Commission in 2010 - the International Year of Biodiversity. "It is now being policed for illegal fishing" he says.  

Roberts seeks a new deal for the world's oceans. For example, he is calling for an outright ban on fishing beneath 800 metres and a phasing out of bottom trawl and dredge fishing. But the focus is not entirely placed on the fishing industry. One problem he forecasts will become much more prominent over the next decade is deep sea mining.  As mining technology improves, and resources become ever more sought after, companies will push deeper into the oceans in search of minerals, metals and fossil fuels.  

Callum Roberts was consultant to the BBC Blue Planet, and The End of the Line, documentary based on Charles Clover’s book which deftly exposed catastrophic reduction in fish stocks globally. 

The event is being co-promoted by the Scottish Environment LINK Marine Taskforce - a coalition of 8 environmental organisations* - who are campaigning for a network of Marine Protected Areas to connect, protect and recover Scotland's seas.   See for more.

* Marine Conservation Society, WWF Scotland, Scottish Ornithologist Club, Scottish Wildlife Trust, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, RSPB Scotland, Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust and The National Trust for Scotland.
The Ocean of Life is available from Word Power Books, 43 W Nicolson St  Edinburgh EH8 9DB 0131 662 9112 and on the night.