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Preparing for Ocean Change Jason Hall-Spencer, Professor of Marine Biology, Plymouth University NOC Association 5th Annual Meeting 30th March 2015 Satellite data show the large area affected by modern heavy gear types in the English Channel a b Footprint of a) UK scallop dredgers and b) UK beam trawlers >15 m length (Campbell et al. 2014 Marine Policy). This excludes the significant footprint of non-UK vessels and those that are <15 m in length. Towed gear alters the seabed; scallops are resilient but many long-lived organisms are not Maerl beds take 1000s of years to form and are badly damaged by scallop dredges Molfese et al. (2014) highlights the recent rapid decline in mean Trophic Level of English Channel fisheries This cartoon from Pauly et al. 2008 could be modified for UK waters to show how fishing keeps ecosystems in a much altered state around the UK War years English Channel catch composition Shellfish (e.g. scallops) now more prevalent in Channel landings. There were more big fish before widespread use of heavy towed gear Case study 1 Soffker et al. 2011 Technology that puts marine life at risk can be used to protect it Demersal gear closures that maximize habitat protection and minimize fisheries displacement Case Study 2 Hall-Spencer et al. (2008) Nature Lots of organisms benefit from increased CO2 levels & out compete those that don’t Consistent patterns of marine ecosystem change: as CO2 levels increase biodiversity declines. Rodolfo-Metalpa et al. (2011) Nature Climate Change Protect here as these reefs will avoid corrosion by ocean acidification Jackson et al. (2014) ICES J Mar Sci Corrosive water depth for 1995, 2020, 2040, 2060, 2080 and 2099. Confirmed stony coral presence records and predicted reef extent What increased our REF impact was using scientific discovery as a platform for work with industry, NGOs and government in negotiating solutions to problems. Our work on fishing impacts and ocean acidification first assembled evidence then followed-up with advocacy on how damaging practices could be reduced to balance environmental quality with ocean use. Hall-Spencer JM et al. (2008) Volcanic carbon dioxide vents reveal ecosystem effects of ocean acidification. Nature 454, 96-99. Jackson EL et al. (2014) Future-proofing Marine Protected Area networks for cold water coral reefs. ICES Journal of Marine Science 71, 2621-2629. Molfese C et al. (2014) Overfishing and the replacement of demersal finfish by shellfish: an example from the English Channel. PLoS ONE 9(7), e101506. Rodolfo-Metalpa R et al. (2011) Coral and mollusc resistance to ocean acidification adversely affected by warming. Nature Climate Change 1, 308-312. Söffker M et al. (2011) In situ observations of fish associated with coral reefs off Ireland. Deep-Sea Research Part 1 58, 818-825.