The Future Seas 2030 Special Issue in Review in Fish Biology and Fisheries is now out!

The Future Seas 2030 Special Issue is the product of a large-scale inter and transdisciplinary collaboration that includes ecologists, psychologists, public health and education experts, philosophers, oceanographers, climate modelers, economists, social scientists, engineers, mathematicians, natural resource managers and information and communications technology researchers, as well as governance, ethics, finance and insurance, and law and policy experts from 12 countries and 25 nationalities. A unique and fundamentally important aspect was the involvement and collaboration with Traditional knowledge holders and Indigenous scholars and Elders from 13 First Nations around the world through a Traditional and Indigenous Peoples’ Working Group.

Collectively, this Special Issue explores possible futures for our oceans by 2030 for a series of ‘key’ societal challenges, from climate change, food security and biodiversity, through to issues of ocean governance, ocean literacy and the blue economy. Most papers explore a ‘business-as-usual’ future—what the future might look like if we continued to follow our current trajectory, and then a ‘More Sustainable Future’—what our future could entail if we used available knowledge and technology to achieve a future more aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Each paper then explores pathways to achieve that more sustainable future, considering and describing what actions we need to take to achieve the future we want. These action pathways provide a roadmap to a future where society can thrive whilst respecting the ocean’s intrinsic limits. Our world is currently changing very rapidly and the future we create is a choice—but it is not a choice between transformation or not—transformations are already underway. Instead, it is a choice as to whether we can direct those changes toward a more positive outcome for the 8.5 billion people the planet will need to support by 2030, and the coastal and ocean ecosystems they depend on.

The interactive action thriller ‘Full Metal Aquatic’ was performed online on February 1st and 2nd 2022 to celebrate the launch of the Future Seas Project and to showcase the upcoming Future Seas special issue in the journal Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries. ‘Full Metal Aquatic’, written by David Finnigan and Jordan Prosser in collaboration with researchers from the Future Seas project and animated by Sacha Bryning, is set in the ocean a decade from now and takes place in two different futures – one we hope to see and one we want to prevent. It is designed to explore what our future could feasibly look like, depending on the actions we take now. Watch the video to find out the whole story! 

Watch the recording here

What future did YOU prefer?

The online performance was followed by a game and discussion which unpacked the critical forces that are shaping the future of our oceans. Participants were divided into groups each representing a local authority responsible for managing a stretch of coastline. Each group was given the same budget and a list of twelve possible projects aimed at improving resource management, climate and ecosystem financing, research and education. Each group was then asked to spend its budget on a selection of projects based on the project’s costs and positive impacts in diverse areas related to ecosystem health, climate resilience, community development, food systems, and community connectedness. At the end of the game, each group was given a snapshot summary of what its coastline would look like in 2030 as an outcome of the group’s decisions.

Watch the game instructions here and find the game rules here. Enjoy!

Presentation by Prof Gretta Pecl at the AMSA conference 2021 about the Future Seas project.

By Kirsty Nash

Find article here

Photo credit (from Cosmos Magazine):  Illustration by Marc Blazewicz (background credit: Sellwell / Getty)

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