Futuribles Journal n° 448

Recherche, sciences, techniques - Ressources naturelles, énergie, environnement

Modelling and Forecasting Marine Socio-Ecosystems: Foresight for Purposes of Governance

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Continuing the series on the future of the seas and oceans begun in Futuribles journal in July 2020, Olivier Maury lays out the importance of the studies and tools aiming to model marine ‘socio-ecosystems’, in order to fuel strategic thinking so as to meet future challenges in this area.

Subject to overfishing, climate changeand multiple other anthropic disturbances, marine socio-ecosystems are changing rapidly and the fundamental ecosystem services they provide to human societies (such as the exploitation of natural resources, environmental regulation through marine biodiversity etc.) are at risk. However, integrated computational models enable us, as this article reminds us, to understand these socio-ecosystems better and anticipate how they will change within the framework of scenarios for the evolution of climate and human societies. The projections using these models are worrying and show that climate change could lead to a drastic decrease in seafood production. There is an urgent need, then, to develop and implement the ecological transition strategies that would enable us to ensure the co-viability of ecosystems and human societies. As Olivier Maury stresses, putting the development of science-based scenarios at the heart of governance and public policy-making could enable us to build these strategies, at all levels of the global fisheries governance system, and to translate them tactically to adapt to the rapid changes our oceans are facing.

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