Last April I was fortunate enough to travel to Paris to be part of an interdisciplinary and international team contemplating different understandings of human activities in and on the world’s oceans. The team was put together by CIESM, the Mediterranean Science Commission and the meeting was the 50th such workshop over many years.

We met in the appropriately themed and distractingly lovely “Maison des Oceans” of the Institute Oceanographique. Having each prepared a short draft paper on the topic, we spent three days discussing and hammering out the important points that should be conveyed in a joint executive summary to introduce the papers.

The executive summary is now released and can be found here.


This is a synthetic overview of a volume of 218 pages, richly illustrated and documented, which explores the complexity of interactions between the marine biota and human activities, in particular fishing. While biodiversity is widely regarded as favorable for human activities, certain species may also negatively impact human well-being, through direct and indirect effects. For example competition between marine mammals and fisheries is a real problem. The food demands of a rising human population lead to increases in fishing effort and overexploitation of resources. As a consequence, conflicts with marine cetaceans multiply, as fishers are tempted to blame them for targeting the same commercial species and overexploiting marine resources. On the other hand, marine mammals are increasingly impacted by incidental by-catch and entanglement in fishing gear. To set effective management practices, stakeholders have to be actively included in the decision process where their knowledge and perceptions will be taken into account . As primary users of the resource, small-scale fishers are among the first victims of adversities such as climate change, invasive species, overfishing, illegal fishing, mismanagement and marine pollution and they must count more in the decision-making process. This overview recommends practical steps, such as the consolidation of joint fishers/ scientific networks, promoting cross-training and good practices among fishers in different regions, favoring co-governance design in marine spatial planning. Interested readers can order the full volume from monographs/Paris18.html

Gourguet S., Briand F., Marçalo A., Ünal V., Liu Y., Kaiser B., Katsanevakis S., Azzurro E., Maccarone V., Hemida F., Pita P., Kafaf O., Brotons J.M., Ramos J., Decugis Ch., Luisetti T. and A. Miliou. 2018. Engaging marine scientists and fishers to share knowledge and perceptions – An overview, pp. 5 – 27 in CIESM Workshop Monograph n°50 [F. Briand, Ed.] CIESM Publisher, Monaco, 218 p.

The book outline is here, and includes a chapter by me and Melina Kourantidou titled, “Invasive crab species in the Barents Sea: stakeholder perceptions, incentives, and path dependencies.” When I figure out what version I’m allowed to post I will do so!