Science, Conservation and Industry gather for annual Plymouth University Marine Institute Lecture

Senior figures from marine science, the fishing industry and conservation are set to take to the stage for a prestigious lecture in which they’ll address the question “are there really plenty more fish in the sea?”

Professor Martin Attrill, Director of the Marine Institute at Plymouth University; Paul Cox, Managing Director of the Shark Trust; and Andrew Pillar, Fleet Manager of Interfish Ltd, will each provide their perspective on the extent to which the world’s oceans are being impacted by commercial fishing, climate change and pollution.

The annual Marine Institute Lecture, being held in the Roland Levinsky Building on Thursday 5 March, will conclude with the trio hosting a question and answer session from the public audience.

Professor Attrill will look back to the state of the seas 100-200 years ago, and the size of the fishing industry at the time, before moving forward to examine the current state of our fish stocks and how we might build them up again.

“By bringing together representatives from science, conservation and the fishing industry, we can engage in balanced discussion and debate,” 

said Professor Attrill. 

“If we are to sustainably fish our seas and support the livelihoods of those people who depend upon them, then we must all be custodians of the marine environment.”  

Paul Cox, in his talk, will discuss the current and future role of conservation groups in supporting responsible fisheries management and highlight some of the factors involved in communicating fisheries and conservation issues to the public and consumers. He said: 

“Fisheries management is complex and achieving sustainability for sharks and other marine species will require engagement at every level of the supply chain. We need to think about how we talk about fisheries and how, as consumers, we can support the continued health of fish stocks and marine wildlife.”

Andrew Pillar, who has 15 years’ experience managing fisheries in the South West, English Channel and Europe, will discuss how British fishermen are playing their part in delivering a ‘responsible fishing industry’. He said: 

“Sustainability of fish stocks is often considered a matter of 'perspective' and can be highly confusing for marine biologists and consumers alike. This is a welcome opportunity to explain the pioneering work undertaken by South West fishermen who have for more than 12 years invited fisheries researchers aboard their vessels. This 'partnership' approach has challenged traditional thinking and is improving our collective understanding of fish stocks.”

The Marine Institute Lecture will be held in Lecture Theatre 2 of the Roland Levinsky Building, at 6.30pm on Thursday - attendance is free but booking is essential, and can be done via the University website.