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Sustainability Science

A Multidisciplinary Approach

image of Sustainability Science
Sustainability science is an academic discipline that emerged in response to threats to the sustainability of the global environment. Its purpose is to help build a sustainable society by developing solutions to climate change, the exhaustion of resources, ecological destruction and other environmental crises that threaten the future of humanity. Sustainability science seeks comprehensive, integrated solutions to complex problems and a restructuring of education and research that spans multiple disciplines. It demands the development of policies that protect the natural and cultural diversity of different regions and promotes the physical and economic health of their inhabitants. This volume offers approaches to the development of a transdisciplinary perspective that embraces natural, social and human sciences in the quest for a sustainable society. It also strives for a global perspective while incorporating the wisdom and experience of local societies.

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Defining the sustainable use of fishery resources

Sustainable use of a fishery resource is an important goal for many management agencies worldwide. Sustainability in world capture fisheries can provide two major benefits to society, namely food and income security from both direct (harvesting) and indirect (for example, processing) industries associated with fishing activities. Through both wild capture fisheries and aquaculture, fish offer a major source of protein to much of the world’s population and can impart substantial economic returns, either in the short term, or in the long term if managed in a sustainable manner. The scientific evidence today, however, indicates failures in the sustainable use and management of fisheries resources, with researchers predicting a 90 per cent removal of predatory fish (Myers and Worm, 2003) and warning that shortfalls in the supply of fish could have devastating consequences for human populations. What we see today are many fisheries suffering from too many boats fishing too few fish (Pauly et al., 2002), resulting in fewer catches globally and even full stock collapses. Although a limited number of these collapses may have been caused or exacerbated by natural phenomena (for example, climate variability), human activities and overfishing – essentially non-sustainable management – are the primary culprits (Pauly et al., 2002).

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