Mystic, Conn. (January 25, 2016): In Mystic Aquarium’s continued efforts to shape ocean policy and make a global impact, Senior Research Scientist Dr. Peter Auster was among the expert panel of scientists and researchers contributing to the World Ocean Assessment recently released by the United Nations.
Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon said this about report:
“The First Global Integrated Marine Assessment, also known as the ‘World Ocean Assessment I’ is the outcome of the first cycle of the Regular Process for Global Reporting and Assessment of the State of the Marine Environment, including Socioeconomic Aspects. Hundreds of scientists from many countries, representing various disciplines and steered by a 22-member Group of Experts, examined the state of knowledge of the world’s oceans and the ways in which humans benefit from and affect them. Their findings indicate that the oceans’ carrying capacity is near or at its limit. It is clear that urgent action on a global scale is needed to protect the world’s oceans from the many pressures they face.”
“The first World Ocean Assessment provides an important scientific basis for the consideration of ocean issues by Governments, intergovernmental processes, and all policy-makers and others involved in ocean affairs. The Assessment reinforces the science-policy interface and establishes the basis for future assessments. Together with future assessments and related initiatives, it will help in the implementation of the recently adopted 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, particularly its ocean related goals."
Dr. Auster contributed to Chapter 51: Biological Communities on Seamounts and Other Submarine Features Potentially Threatened by Disturbance.
The works of Chapter 51 demonstrate that the communities of animals on seamounts and similar undersea habitats all over the world, fish as well as corals and other fauna, are extremely sensitive to disturbance; requiring extreme caution for any activities in the deep ocean.
“While Nations seek new resources in the deep ocean, beyond national boundaries, they need to keep the fragility of these places in mind, and to support and develop international agreements to keep these resources available to future generations,” said Auster.
Dr. Auster has dedicated much of his professional career to understanding the ecological effects of fishing and development of a scientific basis for using marine protected areas as a conservation tool.
“This study reinforces the need for more and critical work to better understand the basic ecology of these places, and to translate the results into useful products for policy-makers and managers, said Auster. “Unfortunately, work in the deep ocean requires large ships and specialized technologies, like submersibles, remotely operated vehicles, and long term observatories and these are not cheap to operate. This is hard to do at a time of tight budgets and narrow national priorities.”
“The foundational next step is to educate the public about these special places. Without people caring, there are not enough voices to push the envelope to action,” added Auster.
The group of experts included Joint Coordinators Lorna Inniss and Alan Simcock; Amanuel Yoanes Ajawin, Angel C. Alcala, Patricio Bernal, Hilconida P. Calumpong, Peyman Eghtesadi Araghi, Sean O. Green, Peter Harris, Osman Keh Kamara, Kunio Kohata, Enrique Marschoff, Georg Martin, Beatrice Padovani Ferreira, Chul Park, Rolph Antoine Payet, Jake Rice, Andrew Rosenberg, Renison Ruwa, Joshua T. Tuhumwire, Saskia Van Gaever, Juying Wang, and Jan Marcin Węsławsk.
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