Reg Watson

Reg Watson
University of Tasmania · Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS)

BSc (Hon), MSc, PhD

About

344
Publications
190,040
Reads
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41,104
Citations
Introduction
I am a highly cited emeritus professor with interests in modelling global fisheries, and their interactions with marine ecosystems including marine biodiversity, economics of fishing, and impacts on birds and mammals; and a desire to develop better ways to assess the health of exploited marine systems, the impacts of climate change, and the social consequences of mismanagement.
Additional affiliations
July 2015 - present
University of Tasmania
Position
  • Professor of Fisheries and Ecological Modelling
Description
  • KSM201 Marine Resource Management and Conservation
January 2013 - present
University of Tasmania
Position
  • Professor (Full)
September 1999 - December 2012
University of British Columbia - Vancouver
Position
  • Global Fisheries
Description
  • visit http://www.ecomarres.com/ download details at http://www.ecomarres.com/downloads/rwatsoncv.pdf

Publications

Publications (344)
Article
Full-text available
Fisheries and aquaculture make a crucial contribution to global food security, nutrition and livelihoods. However, the UN Sustainable Development Goals separate marine and terrestrial food production sectors and ecosystems. To sustainably meet increasing global demands for fish, the interlinkages among goals within and across fisheries, aquaculture...
Article
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Sudden losses to food production (that is, shocks) and their consequences across land and sea pose cumulative threats to global sustainability. We conducted an integrated assessment of global production data from crop, livestock, aquaculture and fisheries sectors over 53 years to understand how shocks occurring in one food sector can create diverse...
Article
Previous reconstructions of marine fishing fleets have aggregated data without regard to the artisanal and industrial sectors. Engine power has often been estimated from subsets of the developed world, leading to inflated results. We disaggregated data into three sectors, artisanal (unpowered/powered) and industrial, and reconstructed the evolution...
Article
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The well-documented value of marine fisheries is threatened by overfishing. Management typically focuses on target populations but lacks effective tools to document or restrain overexploitation of marine ecosystems. Here, we present three indices and accompanying thresholds to detect and delineate ecosystem overfishing (EOF): the Fogarty, Friedland...
Article
Full-text available
Significance The world produces enough food to nourish the global population, but inequitable distribution of food means many people remain at risk for undernutrition. Attainment of Sustainable Development Goal 2 relies on greater attention to distribution processes that match food qualities with dietary deficiencies. We explore this in the context...
Preprint
Sustaining the organisms, ecosystems, and processes that underpin human well-being is necessary to achieve sustainable development. Here we identify critical natural assets, natural and semi-natural ecosystems that provide 90% of the total current magnitude of 14 types of nature’s contributions to people (NCP). Critical natural assets for maintaini...
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One of the most pronounced effects of climate change on the world's oceans is the (generally) poleward movement of species and fishery stocks in response to increasing water temperatures. In some regions, such redistributions are already causing dramatic shifts in marine socioecological systems, profoundly altering ecosystem structure and function,...
Article
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Food from the sea can make a larger contribution to healthy and sustainable diets, and to addressing hunger and malnutrition, through improvements in production, distribution and equitable access to wild harvest and mariculture resources and products. The supply and consumption of seafood is influenced by a range of ‘drivers’ including ecosystem ch...
Article
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Global capture fisheries are a vital global food provisioning to help end hunger and malnutrition. To ensure that global seafood supply sustainably supports a growing population, many initiatives within the UN Sustainable-Development-Goals seek to balance management with efficient resource use. Here we examine changes for 150 countries that represe...
Preprint
Full-text available
Sustaining the organisms, ecosystems, and processes that underpin human well-being is necessary to achieve sustainable development. Here we analyze 14 of nature’s contributions to people (NCP) for food, water, and climate security. Using spatial optimization, we identify critical natural assets, the most important ecosystems for providing NCP, comp...
Article
Large marine ecosystems (LMEs) are highly productive regions of the world ocean under anthropogenic pressures; we analyzed trends in sea surface temperature (SST), cloud fraction (CF), and chlorophyll concentration (CHL) over the period 1998–2019. Trends in these parameters within LMEs diverged from the world ocean. SST and CF inside LMEs increased...
Article
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Humanity has never benefited more from the ocean as a source of food, livelihoods, and well-being, yet on a global scale this has been accompanied by trajectories of degradation and persistent inequity. Awareness of this has spurred policymakers to develop an expanding network of ocean governance instruments, catalyzed civil society pressure on the...
Article
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Ocean activities are rapidly expanding as Blue Economy discussions gain traction, creating new potential synergies and conflicts between sectors. To better manage ocean sectors and their development, we need to understand how they interact and the respective outcomes of these interactions. To provide a first comprehensive picture of the situation,...
Preprint
Full-text available
Sustaining the organisms, ecosystems, and processes that underpin human well-being is necessary to achieve sustainable development. Here we analyze 12 of nature’s contributions to people (NCP) for food, water, and climate security. Using spatial optimization, we identify critical natural assets, the most important ecosystems for providing NCP, comp...
Article
Transfer efficiency is the proportion of energy passed between nodes in food webs. It is an emergent, unitless property that is difficult to measure, and responds dynamically to environmental and ecosystem changes. Because the consequences of changes in transfer efficiency compound through ecosystems, slight variations can have large effects on foo...
Article
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Considerable effort is being deployed to predict the impacts of climate change and anthropogenic activities on the ocean's biophysical environment, biodiversity, and natural resources to better understand how marine ecosystems and provided services to humans are likely to change and explore alternative pathways and options. We present an updated ve...
Article
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Industrial-scale harvest of species at risk of extinction is controversial and usually highly regulated on land and for charismatic marine animals (e.g. whales). In contrast, threatened marine fish species can be legally caught in industrial fisheries. To determine the magnitude and extent of this problem, we analyze global fisheries catch and impo...
Article
• 1. Marine protected areas (MPAs) are today's cornerstone of many marine conservation strategies. Our 2015 study (Devillers et al., 2015) and others have shown, however, that the placement of MPAs is ‘residual’ to commercial uses and biased towards areas of lower economic value or interest. • 2. In this paper, we explored the impact of our study o...
Preprint
Full-text available
Substantial resources are invested in conservation of marine biodiversity globally. Fishing is the primary threat to many marine species and is one we can manage. However, threatened marine species are legally caught in industrial fisheries. To determine the magnitude and extent of this problem, we analysed global fisheries catch and import data an...
Article
Marine capture fisheries in African Large Marine Ecosystems (LMEs) are important from economic, cultural, social, and food provision perspectives. These African fisheries have a long history of high exploitation in the context of data-limited situations. There is a growing, global movement (both in terms of management requirements and scientific ef...
Article
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The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were designed to address interactions between the economy, society, and the biosphere. However, indicators used for assessing progress toward the goals do not account for these interactions. To understand the potential implications of this compartmentalized assessment framework, we explore progress evaluatio...
Article
There is long-standing ecological and socioeconomic interest in what controls the diversity and productivity of ecosystems. That focus has intensified with shifting environmental conditions associated with accelerating climate change. The U.S. Northeast Shelf (NES) is a well-studied continental shelf marine ecosystem that is among the more rapidly...
Article
While small-scale and artisanal fisheries are undeniably important globally, there is no global consensus on how to define the sectors, hindering comparative studies and international agreements. We focused on the usage of the words in both the scientific literature and legal documents and show that the confusion stems from a misuse of the terms ar...
Article
Fishing catch is often used as a cost in marine conservation planning to avoid areas of high fishing activity when identifying potential marine reserve locations. However, the theory of marine reserves indicates that reserves are more likely to benefit fisheries in areas of heavy fishing activity that would otherwise be overfished. Whether or not f...
Article
Full-text available
Overfishing impacts the three pillars of sustainability: social, ecological and economic. Tuna represent a significant part of the global seafood market with an annual value exceeding USD$42B and are vulnerable to overfishing. Our understanding of how social and economic drivers contribute to overexploitation is not well developed. We address this...
Preprint
Understanding global fisheries patterns contributes significantly to their management. By combining harmonized unmapped data sources with maps from satellite tracking data, regional tuna management organisations, the ranges of fished taxa, the access of fleets and the logistics of associated fishing gears the expansion and intensification of marine...
Article
Understanding global fisheries patterns contributes significantly to their management. By combining harmonized unmapped data sources with maps from satellite tracking data, regional tuna management organisations, the ranges of fished taxa, the access of fleets and the logistics of associated fishing gears the expansion and intensification of marine...
Article
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Food production is responsible for a quarter of anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions globally. Marine fisheries are typically excluded from global assessments of GHGs or are generalized based on a limited number of case studies. Here we quantify fuel inputs and GHG emissions for the global fishing fleet from 1990-2011 and compare emissions...
Article
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Large teleost (bony) fish are a dominant group of predators in the oceans and constitute a major source of food and livelihood for humans. These species differ markedly in morphology and feeding habits across oceanic regions; large pelagic species such as tunas and billfish typically occur in the tropics, whereas demersal species of gadoids and fla...
Article
Climate change, in combination with population growth, is placing increasing pressure on the world's oceans and their resources. This is threatening sustainability and societal wellbeing. Responding to these complex and synergistic challenges requires holistic management arrangements. To this end, ecosystem-based management (EBM) promises much by r...
Article
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Functional diversity is thought to enhance ecosystem resilience, driving research focused on trends in the functional composition of fisheries, most recently with new reconstructions of global catch data. However, there is currently little understanding of how accounting for unreported catches (e.g. small-scale and illegal fisheries, bycatch and di...
Article
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Concepts underpinning the planetary boundaries framework are being incorporated into multilateral discussions on sustainability, influencing international environmental policy development. Research underlying the boundaries has primarily focused on terrestrial systems, despite the fundamental role of marine biomes for Earth system function and soci...
Article
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PurposeMethods to quantify biodiversity impacts through life cycle assessment (LCA) are evolving for both land- and marine-based production systems, although typically independently from each other. An indicator for terrestrial food production systems that may be suitable to assess marine biodiversity, and is applicable across all food production s...
Article
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Aim: Protected areas have become pivotal to the modern conservation planning toolbox, but a limited understanding of marine macroecology is hampering their efficient design and implementation in pelagic environments. We explored the respective contributions of environmental factors and human impacts in capturing the distribution of an assemblage of...
Article
With the human population expected to near 10 billion by 2050, and diets shifting towards greater per-capita consumption of animal protein, meeting future food demands will place ever-growing burdens on natural resources and those dependent on them. Solutions proposed to increase the sustainability of agriculture, aquaculture, and capture fisheries...
Article
Knowing the patterns of marine resource exploitation and seafood trade may help countries to design their future strategic plans and development policies. To fully understand these patterns, it is necessary to identify where the benefits accumulate, how balanced the arrangements are, and how the pattern is evolving over time. Here the flow of globa...
Article
Fuel consumption is a leading cost to fishers and the primary source of greenhouse gas emissions from the global fishing industry. Fuel performance varies substantially between and within fisheries, but the drivers behind this variation are unclear and inconsistent across studies. We surveyed rock lobster fishers in Australia and New Zealand to mea...
Article
Full-text available
Zooplankton underpin the health and productivity of global marine ecosystems. Here we present evidence that suggests seismic surveys cause significant mortality to zooplankton populations. Seismic surveys are used extensively to explore for petroleum resources using intense, low-frequency, acoustic impulse signals. Experimental air gun signal expos...
Article
The literature on sustainable diets is broad in its scope, and application yet is consistently supportive of a move away from animal-based diets towards more plant-based diets. The positioning of seafood within the sustainable diet literature is less clear. A literature review was conducted to examine how the environmental impacts of seafood consum...
Article
Full-text available
Global fisheries landings data from a range of public sources was harmonised and mapped to 30-min spatial cells based on the distribution of the reported taxa and the fishing fleets involved. This data was extended to include the associated fishing gear used, as well as estimates of illegal, unregulated and unreported catch (IUU) and discards at se...
Article
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Background Information about the global structure of agriculture and nutrient production and its diversity is essential to improve present understanding of national food production patterns, agricultural livelihoods, and food chains, and their linkages to land use and their associated ecosystems services. Here we provide a plausible breakdown of gl...
Article
Full-text available
Background Information about the global structure of agriculture and nutrient production and its diversity is essential to improve present understanding of national food production patterns, agricultural livelihoods, and food chains, and their linkages to land use and their associated ecosystems services. Here we provide a plausible breakdown of gl...
Article
Full-text available
Background Information about the global structure of agriculture and nutrient production and its diversity is essential to improve present understanding of national food production patterns, agricultural livelihoods, and food chains, and their linkages to land use and their associated ecosystems services. Here we provide a plausible breakdown of gl...
Article
Full-text available
Photosynthesis fuels marine food webs, yet differences in fish catch across globally distributed marine ecosystems far exceed differences in net primary production (NPP). We consider the hypothesis that ecosystem-level variations in pelagic and benthic energy flows from phytoplankton to fish, trophic transfer efficiencies, and fishing effort can qu...
Article
Global marine wild capture landings have remained relatively stable for >20 years, however there is a lack of credible fishing capacity and effort information required to assess the likely sustainability and efficiency of the global fleet. As such, we estimated global fishing capacity and effort from 1950-2012 using a relatively comprehensive datab...
Article
Knowing where and how seafood is caught or farmed is central to empowering consumers, and the importers that supply them, with informed choices. Given the wide-ranging, complex and at times commercially sensitive nature of global seafood trade, it can prove very challenging to link imported seafood with information about its provenance. The databas...
Article
Only in the last century did humans overwhelmingly accept that fisheries resources are finite. Consequently, ‘there are more fish still in the sea than ever came out of it’ served as a popular metaphor for unbounded expectations for half a millennium, expectations that also extended to use of the planet in general. By reconstructing historical fish...
Article
Species' ranges are shifting globally in response to climate warming, with substantial variability among taxa, even within regions. Relationships between range dynamics and intrinsic species traits may be particularly apparent in the ocean, where temperature more directly shapes species' distributions. Here, we test for a role of species traits and...
Article
Full-text available
The growing human population must be fed, but historic land-based systems struggle to meet expanding demand. Marine production supports some of the world's poorest people but increasingly provides for the needs of the affluent, either directly by fishing or via fodder-based feeds for marine and terrestrial farming. Here we show the expanding footpr...