University Of Tasmania
152993 - Safeguarding marine life - conservation of biodiversity and ecosystems.pdf (1.85 MB)

Safeguarding marine life: conservation of biodiversity and ecosystems

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Marine ecosystems and their associated biodiversity sustain life on Earth and hold intrinsic value. Critical marine ecosystem services include maintenance of global oxygen and carbon cycles, production of food and energy, and sustenance of human wellbeing. However marine ecosystems are swiftly being degraded due to the unsustainable use of marine environments and a rapidly changing climate. The fundamental challenge for the future is therefore to safeguard marine ecosystem biodiversity, function, and adaptive capacity whilst continuing to provide vital resources for the global population. Here, we use foresighting/hindcasting to consider two plausible futures towards 2030: a business-as-usual trajectory (i.e. continuation of current trends), and a more sustainable but technically achievable future in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We identify key drivers that differentiate these alternative futures and use these to develop an action pathway towards the desirable, more sustainable future. Key to achieving the more sustainable future will be establishing integrative (i.e. across jurisdictions and sectors), adaptive management that supports equitable and sustainable stewardship of marine environments. Conserving marine ecosystems will require recalibrating our social, financial, and industrial relationships with the marine environment. While a sustainable future requires long-term planning and commitment beyond 2030, immediate action is needed to avoid tipping points and avert trajectories of ecosystem decline. By acting now to optimise management and protection of marine ecosystems, building upon existing technologies, and conserving the remaining biodiversity, we can create the best opportunity for a sustainable future in 2030 and beyond.


Publication title

Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries








Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


Kluwer Academic Publ

Place of publication

Van Godewijckstraat 30, Dordrecht, Netherlands, 3311 Gz

Rights statement

Copyright 2022 The Authors Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Marine biodiversity; Marine systems and management not elsewhere classified; Ecosystem adaptation to climate change