Daniel Pauly Lecture


Professor Daniel Pauly

Fisheries and Global Warming: Impacts on marine ecosystems

A public lecture by Professor Daniel Pauly, fisheries expert and marine conservationist

In this public lecture, Professor Pauly took a historical look at fisheries, and commented on the current challenges of global food security.

The period following the Second World War saw a massive increase in fishing effort, particularly in the 1960s. However, crashes due to this overfishing began to be reflected in global catch trends in the 1970s, and intensified in the 1980s and 1990s. In response, the industrialised countries of the Northern Hemisphere (where overfishing-induced catch declines appeared first) moved their effort toward deeper waters, and toward the south, i.e., to the coasts off developing countries, and beyond into the southern hemisphere, all the way to Antarctica.

Now, in the second decade of the 21st century, the global expansion of fisheries is completed, and the real global catch, which is much higher than officially reported, peaked in the late 1980s and is now rapidly declining. In parallel, the collateral damage to marine ecosystems and biodiversity continues to increase. Several factors act to prevent the public in developed countries from realising the depth of the crisis fisheries are in, notably the increased imports by developed countries, of seafood from developing countries. Also, the misleading perception that aquaculture can substitute for declining catches is widespread. In some countries, notably the U.S., stocks are being rebuilt, but elsewhere, the failure to respond creatively to these clear trends bode ill for the next decades. Indeed, the effects of global warming (productivity declines in the tropics, widespread disruptions at high latitudes), which have been increasingly felt in the last decades, will strongly impact fisheries and global seafood supply.

Professor Daniel Pauly is an internationally renowned fisheries expert and marine conservationist. Born in France and raised in Switzerland, Professor Pauly studied in Germany, where he acquired a doctorate (1979) and habilitation (1983) in Fisheries Biology from the University of Kiel. In 1994, after many years at the International Center for Living Aquatic Resources Management in Manila, Dr Pauly became Professor at the Fisheries Centre of the University of British Columbia, where he served as Director (2003-2008). In 1999, he became Principal Investigator of the Sea Around Us project, which is devoted to studying, documenting and promoting policies to mitigate the impact of fisheries on the world’s marine ecosystems.

Professor Pauly is the author or co-author of over 1000 scientific and other articles, books and book chapters on fish, fisheries and related topics. His publications include two best-selling books, Five Easy Pieces: Reporting on the Global Impact of Fisheries (2010), and, Gasping Fish and Panting Squids: Oxygen, Temperature and the Growth of Water-Breathing Animals (2010). He is also co-founder of FishBase.org, the online encyclopedia of more than 30,000 fish species, and he co-developed the widely-used Ecopath modeling software.

Professor Pauly has received global recognition for his work. In 2001, he was awarded the Murray Newman Award for Excellence in Marine Conservation Research, in 2003 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (Academy of Science) and in the same year, Scientific American listed him as one of the year’s “50 Research Leaders.” In 2004, he received the American Fisheries Society Award of Excellence, the Roger Revelle Medal from IOC/ UNESCO, and the Edward T. LaRoe III Memorial Award of the Society of Conservation Biology. In 2005, he received the International Cosmos Prize, from the Expo '90 Foundation, Japan, and in 2006, the Volvo Environment Prize (shared) from the Volvo Foundation, Sweden. In 2007, he received the Excellence in Ecology Prize from Inter-Research, Germany, the Ted Danson Ocean Hero Award from Oceana, and, in 2012, he received the Grand Prix 2011 of the French Ecological Society, and the Nierenberg Award for Science in the Public Interest for the Scripps Institution for Oceanography in La Jolla, California.

Dr Pauly is the recipient of five honorary doctorates: from the University of Kiel, Germany (2002), the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece (2005), the Université de Montréal (2007), the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, Wageningen Universiteit, The Netherlands (2008) and the Universidade del Algarve, Faro, Portugal (2010).