New Green Interview: Ocean Scientist Boris Worm
Boris Worm – our newest Green Interview — is a happy man. As a distinguished ocean scientist — a professor of marine biology at Dalhousie University — Boris Worm is constantly exploring the world’s oceans, working with students who share his interests, and talking about his passion for the ocean on CBC Radio.
SHOCKING THE WORLD
But he has a history of shocking the world. In 2003, he co-authored a research paper showing that the populations of the world’s large predatory fish, like tuna, cod, salmon, sharks, sword fish and the like, had declined by 90 percent since the beginning of industrial fishing about 50 years ago. Three years later he and his wife Heike Lotze, and others, published what he calls “the crazy paper. ” That paper predicted the global collapse by 2048 of all the species currently commercially fished, everywhere in the world. It caused a storm of controversy.
For all that, he’s remarkably hopeful about the future of the oceans. He knows we can change course because he’s seen us do it. For instance, we’ve protected whales successfully for half a century. He points to the rapid growth of Marine Protected Areas. As an ocean scientist, he’s heartened by new conservation technologies like the satellite tracking of deep-sea fishing vessels, which severely limits what lawless captains can get away with. He works hard to spread “ocean literacy” through such initiatives as “Ocean School,” a unique partnership between Worm’s lab at Dalhousie and the National Film Board of Canada.
“Our planet is run by the ocean and by its creatures,” says Dr. Worm. “That’s just a very fundamental thing we need to understand, not just in this country, but everywhere.”
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