What is the relationship between the architecture of a handful of medieval churches in Denmark and the opposing southern Swedish region of Skåne and the gradual dwindling of fish stocks in the Øresund region? Well, in terms of an opening analogy given by ICES Head of Advisory Programme Poul Degnbol at the University of Washington in Seattle on February 21, the historical fall in numbers of the once-abundant herring in this stretch of water came to directly affect resources available for the terrestrial construction of churches on both sides of the water, meaning individual parts such as the tower became architecturally integrated with others over time in the name of economy and subsequent funding.
It's a light-hearted example of a fish stock on the decline to precursor the lecture that is to follow. Speaking as part of the university's Bevan Series on Sustainable Fisheries, Degnbol, whose presentation was entitled 'No seafood for the future without good governance: experiences from Europe', went on to make the case for an institutional framework that makes it obligatory for those individuals and bodies involved in the process to take responsibility for the world's fisheries in the future. In short, the need for 'long-term responsibility to be hardwired into institutions'.
Central to this, according to Degnbol, is a process involving democratic, cross-educational debate between associated scientists, policy-makers, and stakeholders based on the best available evidence as well as the exploration of action required to meet policy objectives. Fisheries management is moving towards this Socratic model, and implementing it is pivotal in making concrete policy decisions founded on collectively-agreed knowledge.
The University of Washington's Bevan Series on Sustainable Fisheries seeks to tackle questions on and inform about the economic, social, and biological issues and impacts surrounding all aspects of marine resources and biology. A total of ten reputed speakers from a range of backgrounds were invited to give presentations in the university's Fisheries Science Auditorium, and, after Degnbol's contribution, three more lectures remain. The details and dates of these can be viewed on the Bevan Series' official website.