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Dr Tavis Potts, Scottish Association for Marine Science

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11am, 1 November 2011
at The James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen
for scientists, students and other interested parties
Image for the JHI Seminar Programme

Dr Tavis Potts, Scottish Association for Marine Science will deliver a seminar 'Uncharted seas: the challenges for Scottish coastal policy and an emerging 'blue' economy'.

Earth is the ‘Blue Planet’. The oceans form an essential part of our global life support system, from the air we breathe, the water we drink, a stable climate and our wellbeing. They are a source of food and resources, transport and trade, a source of employment and a place for play. They are the foundation of deep scientific, intellectual, and cultural significance. From inshore coastal habitats to the reaches of the deep sea they provide the basis for life to flourish.

Yet despite this importance, these fundamental services are at risk of degradation. In this time period, the anthropocene, humanity has developed the capacity to impact ecosystems on a national and global scale. Climate change, international trade and expansion of the human population are several of a range of pressures that have emerged to threaten the stability of marine ecosystems.

As a result there is considerable doubt about the ability of the oceans to provide the benefits we have been accustomed to as a society. Counter to this is the enormous potential for opportunities (and optimism) as we turn back to the oceans to provide the basis of a sustainable and economy. Within this context marine science and policy lie in uncharted waters. From the perspective of the individual, to the State, and to the scale of large marine ecosystems, we find ourselves in a transition of how we govern the oceans, of how prosperity is created, and how we relate our health and wellbeing to coastal and marine environments.

In many instances the pressures at a global scale draw from individual and societal perspectives and behaviours. As a result, the policy response must seek to influence and drive change at a range of appropriate scales that links individuals, communities, societies and ecosystems. Examples can be drawn from action on climate change or the demand for fisheries products individual and societal choices are driving regional and global responses. This has major implications for how our science is positioned in society.

This seminar explores the key developments facing coastal and marine policy over the next two decades from a number of perspectives. We explore the view of a ‘local Scottish fishermen’ in the challenges of implementing an ecosystem approach to fisheries and new models of governance.

From the perspective of a ‘coastal community’ rich in natural capital we identify the changes taking place that could drive conflict or collaboration around environmental protection; and at the scale of regional governance in the NE Atlantic we explore challenges facing nations in integrating marine management in the context of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive. There is a common thread- understanding how social and ecological systems interact will be the key to unlocking opportunities.

This seminar will take place at The James Hutton Institute Aberdeen and will be broadcast live to the Dundee site.

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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.