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UCL ISR Seminar Series: Feeding the world and maintaining the productive capacity and integrity of marine eco-systems

17:30 - 20:00 20 February 2014

Location: Central House; Ground Level; 14 Upper Woburn Place, London. WC1H 0NN

fishing haul (c) iStockPhoto

Rupert Howes, Chief Executive Officer, Marine Stewardship Council

Abstract: Global fisheries are in trouble. Production has soared five fold since the 1950s and the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (UNFA) estimate that around 83% of global fishery resources are either fully exploited, overfished or depleted. Two billion people already depend upon seafood for their only or main source of animal protein. Demand for seafood continues to grow, particularly in Asia, and with the global population set to reach 10 billion later this century the pressure on this precious and renewable food resources has never been greater. Are we heading for disaster? Will remaining stocks of once abundant species such as blue fin tuna, swordfish and marlin be mined out or can solutions to perhaps one of the biggest sustainability challenges humanity faces after climate change be found?

This lecture will showcase the work of the Marine Stewardship Council, the world’s leading certification and labelling programme for wild capture fisheries,  and specifically look at the role markets can play in incentivising and rewarding sustainable fisheries management practices around the world. Whilst there is no single solution to the global challenge of overfishing and its associated environmental and social impacts the MSC believes passionately that a credible science and evidence based certification and labelling programmes can and already is having an important impact in reversing the decline in global fisheries. This lecture will illustrate why and hopefully persuade all who attend that everyone, all of us as consumers, also have a part to play by using our own individual purchasing decisions to drive change through the choices we make.

Biography: Rupert Howes has been Chief Executive of the Marine Stewardship Council since October 2004. MSC’s mission is to contribute to the health of the world’s oceans by recognising and rewarding sustainable fishing practices, influencing the choices people make when buying seafood, and working with partners to transform the seafood market to a sustainable basis.  A lifelong committed environmentalist and a professionally qualified accountant, Rupert came to the MSC from the influential UK organization Forum for the Future, which works in partnership with business, finance, government, local and regional bodies and universities to accelerate the transition to a more sustainable way of life. Rupert was Director of the Forum Sustainable Economy Programme.  Before that he was a Senior Research Fellow at the Science Policy Research Unit, Sussex University and Research Officer at the International Institute for Environment and Development.  He qualified as a Chartered Accountant with KPMG and holds an MSc in Environmental Technology from Imperial College, University of London and a BA (Econ) Hons. from Sussex University.   He received a Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship in 2007 for his work in establishing the MSC as the world’s leading fishery certification and eco-labelling programme and a WWF "Leaders for a Living Planet" Award in 2009.