The term ‘ecosystem’ refers to living organisms, their physical environment and all the interconnected relationships that occur within that space. Ecosystems linked to the seafood industry include our seas, underwater habitats and routes into them, as well as the creatures and plants that live there. These natural resources feed into our global ecosystem planet Earth, making up an important part of the life support system that allows humanity to thrive.
Concern about the impact of human pressure on the natural world has continued to grow over the past decade and this has led to the development of new management approaches which looks at the wide range interactions and relationships that occur through an ecosystem ‘lens’.
The new report from Seafish focuses on understanding key ecosystem interactions relating to seafood production and consumption, as well as reviewing the wider benefits which these bring for society. It also notes that, despite widespread commitment to embrace natural capital and ecosystems concepts, their use in a marine context lags behind land-based ecosystems.
Dr Angus Garrett, Head of Horizon Scanning and Long Term Issues at Seafish said: “Through our Seafood Horizons work we support the seafood industry by generating a greater awareness of long term changes, their potential implications and the options for action. Over the past 10 years there has been significant growth in the use of an ecosystem approach to view the ways that humanity interacts with the natural environment, as well as how we use and manage natural resources, so it made sense to carry out a review that focussed on ecosystem services and interactions with the UK seafood industry.
“We know that there are gaps in the evidence relating to ecosystem services and interaction with the seafood industry so over the next year we’ll be looking at ways to help address this, starting with a workshop focusing on wild and cultivated shellfish in early spring.”
The Seafish expert workshop on UK shellfish and ecosystem services will take place in Edinburgh in February 2020. It will aim to build the evidence for ecosystems services and public goods/benefits relating to wild and cultivated shellfish.