Foreign scientists working in small island states need to create better collaborations with local researchers and marine management entities if coral reefs, fish, and other marine resources are to be saved from irreversible degradation, according to a new opinion paper published by researchers from the Caribbean, Canada, the USA, and UK.
The opinion, published last week in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science, said, “Small island developing states, termed also “large ocean states” or simply “small island states” are highly dependent on ocean resources for livelihoods, food security, and culture.
Slideshow of underwater Bermuda photos by Sergey Goncharov
“These states are also disproportionately vulnerable to the increasing impacts of climate change, ocean acidification, overfishing, and other shocks to the marine environment.
“Subsequently, the blue economies and important ecosystem services their environments support are compromised his makes strong, adaptive, science-based management critical; however, marine science capacity has typically been significantly lower in these states than in larger coastal ones.
“Small island states tend to have fewer, smaller, and less well-funded research institutions, yet are responsible for comparatively larger marine territories and face multiple management challenges.
“This heightened vulnerability and limited capacity led to an explicit and urgent call following the 3rd International Conference on Small Island Developing States to improve the comprehensiveness of marine science in small island states, thus enabling data-based responses to environmental shocks.
“Specifically, the call asked for a rapid response to marine environmental shocks, to be achieved at least partially through global cooperation and information-sharing.”