WorldFish, Stockholm Resilience Center Likens Marine Resource Exploitation to Disease Spread
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The connectivity and speed of seafood commerce allows for the ‘contagious exploitation of marine resources,' which has the potential to damage fisheries and livelihoods, according to a paper by WorldFish and the Stockholm Resilience Center.

The paper analyzes the sea cucumber trade, which has expanded from 35 to 83 countries in fifteen years, and finds that the ways in which marine resource exploitation spreads is analogous to disease epidemic patterns.

WorldFish6 October 2015: The connectivity and speed of seafood commerce allows for the ‘contagious exploitation of marine resources,’ which has the potential to damage fisheries and livelihoods, according to a paper by WorldFish and the Stockholm Resilience Center. The paper analyzes the sea cucumber trade, which has expanded from 35 to 83 countries in fifteen years, and finds that the ways in which marine resource exploitation spreads is analogous to disease epidemic patterns.

The speed at which marine resource exploitation unfolds poses challenges for the capacity of existing regulatory institutions to address it, explained Hampus Eriksson, Scientist, WorldFish. He said, “Globalized markets connect distant sources of supply with metropolitan areas of demand. Exploitation expands so fast across the world in these modern sourcing networks that overfishing can occur before the resource is even perceived as threatened by management agencies.”

Coordination at multiple levels and scales can help to control and mitigate the effects of this contagious exploitation, according to the study. It recommends global governance measures to address the negative effects of large-scale exploitation to ecosystems and people. WorldFish identifies possible international arrangements and agreements that could play a role in mitigating and controlling exploitation, similar to the ways in which the World Health Organization (WHO) addresses disease. These arrangements include the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA).

WorldFish is a member of the CGIAR Consortium. [WorldFish Press Release] [Publication: Contagious exploitation of marine resources]

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