ABC Big Ideas program: Callum Roberts, University of York

Professor Callum Roberts is a marine biologist and one of those rare creatures – he can deliver in scary detail the health of world’s oceans, but he maintains an optimism and he has some very rational strategies that we can enact to futureproof the marine environment.
He’s the professor of marine conservation at York University in the UK and for the last 20 years he’s been studying some of our most fragile and damaged marine environments.
In this address,the David Thomas Conservation Oration, he covers noise pollution, global warming, coral reefs, predatory crabs moving into the Antarctic, dead zones and vampire squids from hell!
Key to Roberts’ strategies for protection of oceans is the establishment of a network of protected marine zones. He suggests closing 30% of the oceans to control over fishing. The world wouldn’t go hungry and fish stocks would be replenished.
Roberts would support a ban on fishing beneath 800 metres and a phasing out of bottom trawling and dredge fishing.
He has been described as …”that precious pearl… a practising scientist, who not only knows his field inside out…but (he) knows how to write compelling persuasive non fiction”.
This comment refers to his book, Ocean of Life, where he winds up with the observation, “reinvigorating the sea isn’t an altruistic act of self sacrifice…it makes sense on the grounds of self interest too…we are creatures of the ocean”.
And in relation to Australia he says, “You’re a maritime nation…you have to manage the seas properly…you’re going in the right direction…you just have to do better”.
He speaks here at the University of Sydney.
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