UNH fisheries expert to speak at American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting

02/15/05

DURHAM, N.H. -- When the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy ended its three-year analysis of the health of the world's ocean resources, it stated that the world's oceans are in a state of crisis and that a broad, coordinated, scientifically sound approach called "ecosystem-based management" needs to be applied. Andrew Rosenberg of the University of New Hampshire will relay that message and talk to other critical marine resource issues at the annual American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) conference held Feb. 17 to 21 in Washington, D.C.

Rosenberg, a fisheries management expert from UNH's Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space (EOS) and Department of Natural Resources, was one of the 16 commissioners appointed by President George W. Bush to the commission. Although the commission officially ended its work in September when it submitted its final report to the president and members of Congress, Rosenberg continues to spread the word that the oceans are in trouble and need immediate help with, among other things, an ecosystem-based style of management. In reference to the commission's findings and the AAAS meeting Rosenberg says, "This is an opportunity to drill down a little bit into the details."

Rosenberg, who is also the former National Marine Fisheries Service Northeast Regional Administrator, will give three talks and participate in two press conferences at the AAAS gathering. His talks will address fisheries resource recovery, the incorporation of new biological data into fishery policy, and efforts to prevent the misuse of science in policymaking decisions.

On this latter point, for example, Rosenberg says that when science crosses over into the policy realm, it is too often viewed as both malleable and a source of contention. "In order to really make science-based decisions," he says, "it is important to keep the types of advice clearly separate and the rationale for decisions clear."

But central to Rosenberg's message at AAAS will be the ocean commission's ecosystem-based management recommendation.

"A lot of what I'll talk about is a natural extension of the research work I do as well as the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy work in the sense that there are some big, very troubling marine conservation issues out there that desperately need policy solutions," says Rosenberg. He adds, "Some of those solutions are suggested in the commission report. But what does that mean in practice? Can we actually make a really substantial change in policy direction?"

The commission report, Rosenberg asserts, clearly stated by universal agreement of all commissioners - from oil executives and admirals to a fisheries expert like himself "that the oceans are in trouble and we need to change the way we manage them in order to get out of that trouble. And that means not tinkering around the edges - we need a fundamental change."

Source: Eurekalert & others

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