Oceans are home to thousands of species of animals and plants that provide an essential source of food, nutrition and income for millions, including many of the world’s poorest people. We all agree that our oceans are worth protecting. Indeed, one of the Global Goals for Sustainable Development calls for the conservation and sustainable use of our oceans, seas and marine resources. This makes perfect sense.
On December 9, 2014, a major oil spill of 350,000 litres occurred in the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Sundarbans in Bangladesh. The accident threatened to destroy the world’s largest mangrove ecosystem and its unique aquatic life. There were fears that the spill might lead to severe long-term degradation of this delicate and ecologically important environment.
Fisheries managers and policy makers have traditionally focused on measuring the health of fish stocks and managing for their sustainability. While understanding how healthy fish stocks is important, a recent paper by Jim Anderson and colleagues offer a new suite of measurements that also consider the social and economic benefits that fisheries deliver. Including these dimensions in assessments of fishery performance will be key to making the most of our fisheries.