Defying Ocean's End: An Agenda For Action
edited by Linda Glover and Sylvia Earle
foreword by Graeme Kelleher
Island Press, 2004
eISBN: 978-1-59726-751-9 | Cloth: 978-1-55963-753-4 | Paper: 978-1-55963-755-8
Library of Congress Classification QH541.5.S3D37 2004
Dewey Decimal Classification 333.95616
Nearby on shelf for Biology (General) / Ecology:
If humankind were given a mandate to do everything in our power to undermine the earth's functioning, we could hardly do a better job than we have in the past thirty years on the world's oceans, both by what we are putting into it-millions of tons of trash and toxic materials-and by what we are taking out of it-millions of tons of wildlife. Yet only recently have we begun to understand the scale of those impacts.
Defying Ocean's End is the result of an unprecedented effort among the world's largest environmental organizations, scientists, the business community, media, and international governments to address these marine issues. In June 2003, in the culmination of a year-long effort, they met specifically to develop a comprehensive and achievable agenda to reverse the decline in health of the world's oceans.
As conservation organizations begin to expand their focus from land issues to include a major focus on preservation of the sea, it is increasingly apparent that we have to approach marine conservation differently and at much larger scale than we have to date. What's also clear is the magnitude and immediacy of the growing ocean concerns are such that no one organization can handle the job alone.
Defying Ocean's End is a bold step in bringing the resources needed to bear on this vast problem before it is too late. It offers a broad strategy, a practical plan with priorities and costs, aimed at mobilizing the forces needed to bring about a "sea change" of favorable attitudes, actions, and outcomes for the oceans-and for all of us.
Linda K. Glover is a marine scientist and Senior Marine Policy Advisor for Conservation International. She had 38 years of Federal service in a wide range of ocean research and policy areas.
Sylvia A. Earle is a marine biologist and has been an Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society since 1998. She has previously authored Sea Change (Putnam, 1995) and Atlas of the Ocean (National Geographic, 2001).
Contents Foreword by Graeme Kelleher Preface by Sylvia A. Earle Overview by Linda K. Glover and Arlo H. Hemphill Chapter 1: The Caribbean by Mark Spalding and Philip Kramer Chapter 2: Seamount Biodiversity, Exploitation and Conservation by Gregory Stone, Laurence Madin, Karen Stocks, Glenn Hovermale, Porter Hoagland, Mary Schumacher, Carolyn Steve-Sotka, Heather Tausig and Peter Etnoyer Chapter 3: The Southern Ocean: A Model System for Conserving Resources? by John P. Croxall and Phil N. Trathan Chapter 4: Coral Triangle by Jamie Bechtel, Tim Werner, Ghislaine Llewellyn, Rod Salm and Gerald R. Allen Chapter 5: The Gulf of California: Natural Resource Concerns and the Pursuit of a Vision by María de los Ángeles Carvajal, Exequiel Ezcurra & Alejandro Robles Chapter 6: Lines on the Water: Ocean Use Planning within Large Marine Ecosystems by Dee Boersma, John Ogden, George Branch, Rodrigo Bustamante, Claudio Campagna, Graham Harris and Ellen K. Pikitch Chapter 7: Rationality or Chaos? Global Fisheries at a Crossroads by Rod Fujita, Kate Bonzon, James Wilen, Andrew Solow, Ragnar Arnason, James Cannon and Steve Polasky Chapter 8: A Global Network for Sustained Governance of Coastal Ecosystems by Stephen B. Olsen, Richard Kenchington, Neil Davies, Guilherme Dutra, Lynne Zeitlin Hale, Alejandro Robles and Sue Wells Chapter 9: Restoring and Maintaining Marine Ecosystem Function by Les Kaufman, Jeremy B.C. Jackson, Enric Sala, Penny Chisolm, Edgardo D. Gomez and Charles Peterson Chapter 10: Defying Ocean's End through the Power of Communications by Robin Abadia, Brian Day, Nancy Baron, Nancy Knowlton, John McCosker, Aristides Katoppo and Hugh Hough Chapter 11: Ocean Governance: A New Ethos through a World Ocean Public Trust by Montserrat Gorina-Ysern, Kristina Gjerde and Michael Orbach Chapter 12: The Unknown Ocean by Larry Madin, Fred Grassle, Farouk Azam, David Obura, Marjorie Reaka-Kudla, Myriam Sibuet, Greg Stone, Karen Stocks, Anne Walls and Gerry Allen Chapter 13: Business Plan by Benjamin A. Vitale, Larry Linden, James N. Hauslein, Ivan Barkhorn and Dietmar Grimm Chapter 14: Technology Support to Conservation by Robert J. Fine and Daniel A. Zimble Time for a Sea Change by Sylvia A. Earle Participant list Index Foreword By Graeme Kelleher The beginning of this new millennium is a critical time for humanity, our fellow animals, plants and the biosphere. For the first time, as far as we know, a single species has become so numerous and so powerful that its activities have already caused significant changes in the biosphere and have the potential to have much more serious, even catastrophic, effects on our living earth. The purpose of the Defying Ocean's End Conference in Los Cabos, Mexico, in May/June 2003 was to bring the consciousness and commitment of an ocean-experienced cross section of international experts to focus on how to make humanity more of a friend to our living earth. Fortunately, we were not starting from scratch. Over the past decade in particular, there has been a series of developments that provided a foundation on which to build. To mention just a few: * The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1994 (UNCLOS) * The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) * The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) * Recent United Nations General Assembly resolutions * The imminent coming into effect of the Kyoto Climate Change Convention * The establishment of a High Seas Marine Protected Area (MPA) Executive Committee, which brings together IUCN, the World Conservation Union, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) and some governments in the cause of High Seas MPAs Since the DOE event, its themes have also been addressed at: * The Workshop in Cairns, Queensland, Australia, on 17 - 21 June 2003, focusing on high seas biodiversity - an expression of the Australian government's commitment to this issue; and * The World Parks Congress in Durban, South Africa, on 8 - 17 September 2003. The future offers good opportunities to form a continuum in the process. The first International MPA Congress (IMPAC1) in Geelong, Australia, scheduled for October 2005 and the 3rd IUCN World Conservation Congress in Bangkok, in November 2004 are two examples. We used to say that the world is littered with paper parks. That's still true, but referring to the oceans it might be fair to say we are awash in wish lists. We don't want another one. The Defying Ocean's End Conference was organized into seven theme groups and five regional case study groups, with a great deal of preparatory work done before we convened in Los Cabos. The chairs of the Case Study and Theme Groups had a major responsibility in defining realistic Action Plans for three target times: one, three and ten years. The expectations during the Conference were to create an Action Plan, defining specific: * Outcomes - targets * Target groups * Actors * Time Lines * Costs * Sources of Resources Results of this work before, during and since the conference are presented in the chapters of this book. There were four crosscutting attributes of the Conference in general and of the theme groups in particular that should be recognized and applauded. The first was the enthusiasm. The enthusiasm that was shown by everybody involved was wonderful. Most of us are familiar with those terrible conferences where people preach from the podium and people from the audience sneak out to talk to each other rather than listen and, as a consequence, they don't take part in the creative function of the conference. Fortunately, that was not the case here - Defying Ocean's End was a Conference characterized by commitment, communication and collaboration. The second element we should identify is thoughtfulness. The DOE Conference was unusual in the deliberate abandonment of mental boundaries. The thoughtfulness that was expressed and demonstrated by the speakers and the non-speakers who have worked with the lead people, the theme groups and the case studies was quite outstanding. Third, the professionalism was outstanding. All the participants, in my view, demonstrated great professionalism. Fourth, and just as important, was cross-professionalism. The language used was generally understandable even by people from other professions. I think that's going to be one of the most important things to foster as we continue along the path we are following together. Cross-professional communication will be absolutely fundamental and will lead to increased collaboration. We have to continue to collaborate, not just between professions, but also between nations and between communities and organizations around the world. There are another four things that I should like to share with you as you use this book. They are the results of work before and after the DOE Conference. There are four lessons we can all apply personally and collectively: First, follow your dream. All of us involved with Defying Ocean's End have a dream of a world where humans are not the enemy of the biosphere but the friend. I should like to quote from Polonius in Shakespeare's Hamlet, who said, "and this above all, to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man." Following our dream is going to be an absolutely essential path to the future we hope for. The second lesson is based on a quotation from the owl in the Pogo comic strip. "I have met the enemy, and it is us!" We need to realize that most, if not all, of us have inherited or developed attitudes and instincts that threaten our species and the entire biosphere. They include selfishness, hostility, prejudice against others and the desire for revenge. These attitudes were markedly absent during the DOE Conference. We need to be increasingly conscious of such attitudes and instincts in others and ourselves so we can act cooperatively and creatively. The third quotation, from the book of Genesis, is probably well known to most of you. "Be fruitful and multiply and subdue the earth." If there is one lesson that the problems of our environment should have taught us, it is that this injunction is disastrous. Humanity must live in harmony with the earth and not try to subdue it. If human populations continue to increase, we will eventually overwhelm the biosphere. The fourth lesson I should like to mention is never give up! The quotation for that is "There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at its flood leads on to fortune." (Brutus from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.) Now, if you never give up, you will eventually encounter the incoming tide and can ride it to the fulfillment of your dream. Our dream is for humanity to live in harmony with the biosphere. If there was ever a tide in humanity's relation to the sea, it is now. It is demonstrated in conferences such as this one, in international agreements, research into marine ecosystems and processes and their relations to the entire biosphere and in the gradually increasing understanding by human communities of these relations. Let us take this tide in its flood for the future of humanity and our wonderful planet! Preface Sylvia A. Earle "Eventually man . . .found his way back to the sea. . .And yet he has returned to his mother sea only on her own terms. He cannot control or change the ocean as, in his brief tenancy on earth, he has subdued and plundered the continents." Rachel Carson, "The Sea Around Us," 1951 The 20th century proved to be a time of unprecedented scientific discovery, with more new insights gained about ourselves, the nature of the Earth and the universe beyond than during all preceding human history. Fifty years ago many scoffed at the notions that continents move around, that oceans come and go, or that life can exist in the deepest sea. In the 1950s most people believed the ocean was so vast and so resilient that there wasn't much humans could to do alter its nature. Half a century later, two great truths have emerged based on new knowledge about the sea. First, the ocean is the cornerstone of Earth's life support system and therefore is vital to human survival and well-being. We have come to understand that the sea generates most of the oxygen in the atmosphere, absorbs huge quantities of carbon dioxide, governs our climate and weather, regulates temperature, drives planetary chemistry, harbors most of the water and contains the greatest abundance and diversity of life on Earth. As the sea changes, so do the circumstances that shape the way our world works. The second great truth that emerged in the latter half of the 20th century was that humans do have the capacity to alter basic global processes. In fact, changes are occurring as a consequence of what we are putting into the ocean and atmosphere and onto the land, as well as what we are removing from the mantle of living systems on land and in the sea that are vital to maintaining the planet as a place hospitable for humankind. We learned the hard way that the ocean is not infinite in its capacity to accommodate what we put in or take out. Already, destruction of coastal and deepsea habitats, the annual removal of millions of tons of ocean wildlife and the addition of millions of tons of noxious wastes have set in motion processes that are not likely to be in our best interests. In the 20th century, we learned more about the ocean than during all preceding human history, but during the same time, we lost more. Those who participated in the Defying Ocean's End Conference in Los Cabos, Mexico, in May/June 2003 came with this knowledge as a starting point, and with a commitment to think positively about actions that realistically could be taken to reverse the worrisome global trends. The year before, in June 2002, Conservation International convened a small group of scientists and conservation experts also in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, to consider what could be done not just to slow the decline of ocean health, but to succeed in turning the trends in a positive direction. The major outcome of that planning session was the vision of assembling the best international experts available, after a year devoted to developing background data about specific issues and actions that could "defy ocean's end" on a global scale. Thus the DOE conference began to take form. That a meeting of minds prepared to develop an action plan could actually help drive positive, international initiatives was inspired by the successful outcomes of the Defying Nature's End Conference held in 2000 at the California Institute of Technology. At that event, a select group of scientists, economists, leaders in business and other disciplines focused attention on actions needed to stem the loss of global biodiversity. That conference gave rise to strategies aimed at protecting biodiversity, with an emphasis on "hot spots,"--areas of high diversity and high threat--as well as intact wilderness areas. Innovative programs were recommended to preserve the economic, societal and security advantages of maintaining global biodiversity, while underlining the problems that arise when biodiversity is diminished or lost. Optimism prevailed because of the realization, as reported in the journal Science in May 2001, that ". . .greatly increasing the areas where biodiversity is protected is a clear and achievable goal, one potentially attainable by using funds raised in the private sector and leveraged through governments." Critical needs were identified: synthesis and distribution of available knowledge, investment in targeted research, development of research and management centers in countries where biodiversity actions are focused, and demonstrating the links among biodiversity, ecosystems, their services and people--all of these leading to benefits for humankind through increased and enduring protection for hot spots and wilderness areas worldwide. Some consideration was given to coastal and ocean matters at the Defying Nature's End Conference, but both the recommendations and subsequent implementation focused largely on terrestrial issues. By 2002 it was time to take a hard look at the blue part of the planet--largely neglected by conservation organizations, national governments and international policymakers, despite alarming trends that closely parallel declines of natural systems and species on land, and with similar devastating consequences to the interests of humankind. The challenge was and still is daunting. Many seemingly intractable ocean problems were identified in 1998, the International Year of the Ocean, at various national and international conferences. Over and over the need for accelerated research and exploration were expressed, recognizing that less than five percent of the ocean has been seen, let alone explored. Repeatedly, the consequences were discussed of overfishing and the use of gear and techniques that extract an enormous toll in terms of habitat destruction and many millions of tons of non-targeted marine life destroyed incidental to fishing operations. Problems relating to the downstream consequences of upstream pollution, as well as the deliberate dumping of wastes into the sea, were the subject of numerous meetings and reports. Most puzzling and damaging of all was the widespread indifference to ocean issues, a complacency borne of the lack of awareness among decision-makers and the public at large that the ocean is in trouble, and a profound lack of understanding that there is a direct connection between the declining state of the ocean and human affairs. In response to these grave concerns, two ocean commissions were established in the United States in 2001: the Pew Oceans Commission supported privately by the Pew Foundation, and the National Ocean Commission appointed by the President and Congress to review national policies and recommend actions. Both of these Commissions, however, focused largely on national issues and actions. Participants in Defying Ocean's End took a broader view, deliberately looking for solutions that could be implemented globally over broad areas involving a wide range of participants: the public and private sectors of local communities, states, nations and international institutions. Several reports issued just before the conference highlighted the urgency of the deliberations. Two Canadian scientists, Drs. Boris Worm and Ransom Meyers, published the results of their ten-year study of global fisheries data with the conclusion that 90% of the big fish--tuna, swordfish, marlin, sharks, grouper, snapper and others--have been extracted from the ocean in the past fifty years. New data on bycatch revealed the destruction of more than 300,000 marine mammals, tens of thousands of birds and turtles, and more than 20 million tons of animals killed and discarded in industrial fishing operations every year. Another report cited a dramatic increase in the number of "dead zones" in coastal waters, created by unnaturally high levels of nitrates and phosphates flowing down rivers from fields, lawns and farms--an increase from 50 such areas a decade ago to more than 150 now. Many other recent studies have documented dramatic declines in coral reefs, seagrass meadows, kelp stands, mangrove forests and other vital systems known to be thriving half a century ago. Special concern was raised at DOE about the swift destruction of seamount habitats and their associated ocean wildlife by bottom-trawl fishing, coincident with news that seamounts may be likened to the Galapagos Islands on a grand scale, with each rocky, underwater "island" hosting high biodiversity and high levels of species found nowhere else on Earth. There was also good news. Awareness of the high, hidden costs of industrial fishing have not gone unnoticed and a fundamental change in thinking about commercial fishing is underway, starting with a recognition that fish and other marine life are not commodities, they are wild animals. Fishing involves hunting and capturing, not cultivating and harvesting. Some policy and regulatory revisions for commercial fishing are beginning, with a growing focus on "sustainable use" of living marine populations within national Exclusive Economic Zones and in the 60% of the ocean called high seas that lacks coherent governance. Commitment to research, education and new technologies to improve access to the ocean depths are gradually improving in some countries, including Australia, China, Japan, France and the United States. The mood of participants at the Defying Ocean's End Conference was electric. It was driven in some measure by a sense of urgency, but also by a conviction that it is not too late to do something about protecting ocean health and restoring some of the damage. Ten percent of the big fish are still out there in the ocean; they're not all gone yet. Half of the coral reefs are still in good shape. Despite pollution issues, much of the ocean is still healthy and resilient. A strong sense of hope prevailed that actions could be taken in time to avoid further loss of marine species and irreplaceable ocean ecosystems, and resources could be raised and mechanisms identified to achieve the desired, successful outcomes. Whether we act on what we know or allow the present opportunities for concerted action to slip away, the next decade may prove to be the most significant for ocean conservation--and for the future of humankind--in the next thousand years. Overview Linda K. Glover and Arlo H. Hemphill There are many national and international conferences held every year around the world that focus on aspects of marine conservation, but Defying Ocean's End in Los Cabos, Mexico, May 30th to June 3rd of 2003 had several unusual characteristics. First, its objective was more than just communicating ideas. DOE's goal was to map out a global agenda for action in marine conservation, with priorities and costs identified. Although we heard from a few invited speakers, whose remarks were very useful input to the global plan, most of the time at DOE was spent in working sessions, and in presentations and critiques of the working groups' results. Second, most of the work was begun many months in advance. Some twenty grants and contracts were written with various groups to prepare the foundation for discussions well before the conference began. These efforts were of two types--regional case studies and global thematic working groups. Case studies were commissioned from five regions of the world ocean that were chosen for their differences--in their physical environment, marine biological assemblages, level of threat, political and legal regimes, and ongoing conservation management efforts. The five case study regions (Figure 1) are: * The Caribbean * Seamounts * Antarctic Waters * The Coral Triangle * The Gulf of California The wider Caribbean, presented in Chapter 1, is a very large semi-enclosed oceanic basin with tropical and subtropical environments. Its land areas include the margins of two continents and hundreds of islands belonging to over twenty nations, so complex multinational regional efforts are required to address the problems of marine conservation in this area. The Caribbean basin is close to highly developed land areas in some places, and continuing development for tourism and other commercial uses are an increasing influence in the region. Seamounts are large underwater mountains--some taller than Mount Everest--that exist throughout the world ocean and host unique deepwater biological communities. These deep, cold, dark areas (Chapter 2) yield species new to science every time they are sampled, and likely hold important but not yet discovered information about the workings of the ocean, the origins of life on Earth and indeed the Earth's environment as a whole. Despite their remoteness these richly diverse and intriguing environments are being destroyed by industrial-scale bottom-trawl fishing on the high seas. Antarctic waters (Chapter 13) present another environment in great contrast to the tropical coral reefs--frigid waters with their own unique biological communities. This region is also unusual politically in that all nations have stepped away from any national claims or jurisdictional controls over the land and water areas or their resources. The primary vehicle for management and protection of its biologic resources is the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), and its successes and limitations provide useful lessons. The "Coral Triangle" spanning the equator in the far western Pacific (Chapter 4) has historically been, and still is, an area of high biodiversity in marine life. The remoteness of some of this area has preserved some pristine environments, but unmanaged practices like clear-cutting of forests and dynamite fishing in many areas threatens to destroy some of the high biodiversity in this region. The Gulf of California is another instructive ocean region (Chapter 5). A deep, narrow basin caused by movement of land and ocean crust along the immense fault line on the western coast of North America, the Gulf sits in a subtropical setting and is surrounded by only by one country. The successes in this region from engaging the users, conservationists, the business community, and state and national governments are instructive. The charge to these case study groups was to review threats and marine conservation activities in their region, assess what is working and what needs improvement, and make recommendations for improved action. Results of the case studies were reported to everyone on the first day of the DOE Conference to provide "lessons learned" and recommendations from each region that might be considered while creating a global action plan. Meanwhile a number of "theme groups" also began their work well before the conference. The themes were chosen to cut across typical threats, uses and interest areas --such as fisheries or invasive species--and take a broader look at large-scale solutions for multiple environmental problems. Results of the seven global theme groups for DOE are also presented as chapters in this volume: * Ocean-Use Planning & Marine Protected Areas (Chapter 6) * Economic Incentives & Disincentives (Chapter 7) * Land-Ocean Interface (Chapter 8) * Maintaining & Restoring Functional Marine Ecosystems (Chapter 9) * Communications (Chapter 10) * Ocean Governance (Chapter 11) * The Unknown Ocean (Chapter 12) The charge to each of the theme groups was to: * Follow a consistent approach to assist in integrating the results of all groups into a final agenda for action * Make use of a map-based approach wherever possible * Prepare a very brief background of the key issues associated with your theme that sets the stage for the recommendations * Identify the most important and urgent issues that will affect future action * Focus on practical and achievable actions * Determine what each component of your strategy will cost to implement * Propose measures for assessing success Theme group members were chosen to include a broad representation of international experts--in ocean science, conservation, law, economics and communications--mostly from academia. In many cases the working group members had never met, but began their collaboration through email and the internet, to have a draft plan ready when they did meet at the Conference. We threw another element into the mix at the DOE Conference itself--almost forty additional experts who had not participated in the preparatory work joined the theme groups and brought a fresh perspective to their proceedings during DOE. We had a small number of very informative invited talks, and these speakers also joined the theme groups. Most of the DOE Conference was spent in the small theme groups working out actions, timing, priorities and costs for their pieces of a global action plan. Another element of the Conference was the addition of a "business team"--a small group of business planning professionals who assisted the theme groups in organizing their recommended actions into 1-, 3- and 10-year outcomes, and estimating total program costs; their approach is described in Chapter 13. An impressive IT (information technology) team "wired" the entire conference with email and computing capacity for pulling in new datasets during discussions, and for displaying interim plans and presentations in realtime. We also had a mapping and GIS (global information system) team that made maps before and during the conference to illustrate, assess and compare threats and conservation planning priorities. A decision was made well before the conference to use standard mapbases for the world and for each of the regions, so that data layers of different information could easily be shared and compared among the groups. The standard maps used for the DOE Conference are visible throughout this volume, with all worldwide data shown on the same global mapbase (Figure 2). The DOE maps are clearly designed to focus on information in the ocean. Our IT and mapping leads at the Conference prepared a piece on technology support to conservation which is included in this volume as Chapter 14. At the Conference, we had almost 150 experts from more than 20 countries and representing more than 70 universities and other organizations. All were energized by the urgency of the problems facing the ocean, the broad sharing of information across disciplines and the focus on trying to forge an effective set of global solutions. Strange, ancient creatures in caves and on deep seamounts captured the group's imagination. A growing sense of urgency for global reform in fisheries management, high seas legal regimes and communication of ocean concerns to the public were widely endorsed. Some theme groups worked late into the night. Some were seen in discussions on the beach at dawn. The results of their efforts and DOE follow-on activities since are presented throughout these pages. We have made every effort to minimize or define technical terms so the concepts can be understood by the widest possible audience of ocean professionals, students from all fields, global decision-makers and the public.