The new science of Marine Conservation Biology aims to address the rapidly deteriorating state of marine life by applying science to marine conservation and was born following the First Symposium on Marine Conservation Biology held during the 1997 annual meeting of the Society for Conservation Biology.
Marine Conservation Biology, like Conservation Biology, is a multi-disciplinary approach to providing the data needed to prevent the loss of marine biodiversity. Data on the threats to the marine environment are urgently needed to inform policymakers and other stakeholders on the most critical problems that need to be addressed. The study of marine conservation biology facilitates the cross-pollination of a number of disciplines in marine science including marine biology, ecology, ichthyology, oceanography, biological oceanography, and others so that scientific data can be used to help solve problems effectively and sustainably.
The numerous challenges facing the oceans are complex. Fish stocks are declining at an alarming rate; many have already collapsed beyond repair.
Marine Conservation Biology: The Science of Maintaining the Sea’s Biodiversity by Michael E. Soule, Elliott A. Norse, Larry B. Crowder, Marine Conservation Institute, Island Press, 2005
The list of marine species listed as threatened or in danger of extinction grows longer every year. The world’s coral reefs, home to the greatest biodiversity of marine fishes, are deteriorating due to destructive fishing practices and bleaching. Mercury levels in many commercially fished species are at an all time high. Dead zones and algae blooms are increasing in both size and number.
Without the scientific understanding and the data needed to demonstrate the magnitude of these problems, they will not be resolved. The science of marine conservation biology is greatly needed to prevent further destruction and to reverse the damage already done.
Global Marine Biological Diversity: A Strategy for Building Conservation into Decision Making
Edited by Elliott A. Norse, Island Press, 1993
In 1989, the Center for Marine Conservation (now The Ocean Conservancy) joined a large group of international organizations in developing a Global Biodiversity Strategy (World Resources Institute et al. 1992). This companion volume, the work of 106 authors – marine biologists, oceanographers, economists, lawyers, government officials, environmentalists, and others – has been called the most comprehensive book on marine conservation. It presents, for the first time, basic principles of marine conservation for decision makers in governments, industries, and conservation organizations and for marine resource managers, students, and all others concerned with protecting our vital ocean resources.