SEAwise is led by a core team of partners who lead the programme’s work themes and regional case studies, and spearhead the fantastic work being done to encourage our SEAWise Network to get involved in all areas of our research. They bring their knowledge and experience of fisheries and marine ecosystems, not to mention their enthusiasm and passion, to make a real impact to the longevity of sustainable management systems. Collectively, they make up our Steering Committee.
We spoke with each of them to hear more about what drives them to work towards the implementation of EBFM, and find out what excites them most about their work within SEAwise!
How is EBFM important to you?
Everyone realises that fisheries can affect the ecosystem and that ecosystems can affect fisheries – particularly through climate change. We also realise that it is people who fish, and who eat those fish. So everything is connected. In that context, it is much better to understand the whole system, what drives changes in fish stocks, and what fishing activities drive change in the ecosystem. So EBFM is important to me because it uses the knowledge we gain to sustainably manage fisheries best for the environment, the fisheries and all the people with a stake – actually all of us – one way or another.
Which aspects of Ecosystem Based Fisheries Management interest you most, and why?
What interests me most is to find a way of allowing us to continue fishing, and eating fish, but doing so in the most “ecological” way. It would be easy to just say “Don’t fish anymore”, but it is possible to get the fish and minimise the impacts on the environment, even if you cannot eliminate them. That is the challenge and that is why it interests me.
How do you think your work in SEAwise will improve Ecosystem Based Fisheries Management?
My aim is to learn and to understand the whole social-ecological system – fish, environment and people, and how they interact. SEAwise is about exactly this. It will not, on its own, solve all the issues, but it will improve our understanding and so get us closer to doing fisheries management right!
Dave is the principal investigator on EBFM at the Marine Institute in Ireland. He has worked for 28 years in fisheries management on fisheries sustainability, fishing capacity and effort, industry collaboration, integrated ecosystem assessment and ecological risk analysis. He has long been closely involved with ICES, for which he received an Outstanding Achievement Award in 2021. He has been involved in over 20 EU funded projects. He is also an adjunct professor at University College Cork, Ireland. Within SEAwise, he leads the Ecological Effects of Fisheries work theme.
Our dynamic network of fisheries stakeholders is key to SEAwise’s work. We are actively seeking representatives from key management agencies, the fishing sector, NGOs and the scientific community to take part in workshops and other in-person or online knowledge-gathering activities. The shared insights and lived experiences of network members will support the development of a comprehensive understanding of the needs and priorities of a diverse range of fisheries stakeholders, and how to fulfil these.
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