A Blue Recovery: How can we protect and restore our marine environment?

An Alumni and supporters alumni event
Date10 November 2020
Time13:00 to 14:00

Join our latest panel discussion focusing on how we can improve the health of our marine ecosystems.

Oceans cover three quarters of the Earth’s surface. They drive the global systems that make the planet habitable; impacting rainfall, drinking water, weather patterns, coastlines, much of our food, and even the air we breathe.

More than three billion people depend on marine and coastal environments for their livelihoods. The global market value of marine resources and industries is around $3 trillion per year and marine fisheries directly or indirectly employ more than 200 million people around the world.

But the health of our oceans is in decline and the blue economy it supports is coming under increasing threat. Pollution and acidification is harming ecosystems and biodiversity at an increasing rate. Millions of tonnes of plastic enters the sea every year to the degree that, without change, will result in more plastic than fish in the oceans by 2050.

Saving our ocean must be a priority, and indeed one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals is to ‘Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources’.

During this discussion we’ll look at some of the ways we can achieve this. Considering issues like marine protected areas, plastic pollution and ocean acidification, sustainable fisheries, and habitat restoration. As well as focusing on conserving biodiversity, we’ll also look at the impact of marine degradation on human health and communities around the world.

As always we want you to be part of this discussion. Put your questions to the panel during the live event, or submit them in advance to be asked at the start.

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Our panellists

Professor Callum Roberts
Professor of Marine Conservation, University of Exeter

Callum’s research focuses on threats to marine ecosystems and species and on finding the means to protect them. This includes documenting the impacts of fishing on marine life, both historic and modern, and exploring the theory and practical effectiveness of marine protected areas for conservation and fisheries management. Callum’s research has helped establish half a million square kilometres of marine protection in the North Atlantic. It has also provided the scientific underpinning for a new ocean protection target – 30% marine protected areas by 2030 – which is gaining widespread support as a follow on to the UN 10% by 2020 target.

Professor Pennie Lindeque
Head of Science - Marine Ecology and Biodiversity, Plymouth Marine Laboratory

Pennie is an expert in marine ecology, particularly well known for her work investigating the bioavailability and impact of microplastics on the marine environment. Pennie’s research has also centred on using molecular techniques to help answer ecological questions. For example in identifying different types of plankton using Next Generation Sequencing technologies, and investigating trophic interactions through molecular gut content analysis.

Hugo Tagholm (Hon DSc, 2019)
Chief Executive, Surfers Against Sewage (SAS)

Hugo leads the national marine conservation and campaigning charity Surfers Against Sewage. The charity takes action from the beach front to the front benches of Parliament, where it unites a voice for the ocean through its Ocean Conservation All Party Parliamentary Group. It mobilises more than 100,000 community beach and river clean volunteers annually and has been instrumental in helping introduce and enforce new government legislation to protect our seas. 

Sophie Corrigan
PhD Researcher, University of Exeter

Sophie works in marine ecology and climate science: quantifying human impacts on the ocean and working towards sustainable solutions. Specifically her research looks at the environmental benefits of seaweed aquaculture to provide a sustainable food source and support ecosystems through potential habitat restoration and bioremediation. Sophie is researching the potential of seaweed farms to create spawning and nursery habitats, assess the invertebrate communities they support, and monitor how farms influence physical conditions and dissolved nutrient chemistry. She works alongside the Cornish Seaweed Company to ensure practical benefits for both business and the local environment.

Professor Karyn Morrissey
Associate Professor in the European Centre for Environment and Human Health

An economist by background, Karyn is an associate professor in the European Centre for Environment and Human Health in the University of Exeter. Her book The Economics of the Marine: Modelling Natural Resources’ was published by Rowman & Littlefield (2017). On completing her PhD Karyn undertook a research role NUI, Galway where she produced the first economic valuation of Ireland’s ocean economy in 2010. This report provided the baseline estimates for Ireland’s current marine strategy, ‘Harnessing our Ocean Wealth: An Integrated Marine Plan for Ireland’. Karyn is currently involved in a number of marine related projects globally. Karyn is an associate editor of Marine Policy.

Ruth Williams
Marine Conservation Manager, Cornwall Wildlife Trust

Ruth is a marine biologist, Cornish born and bred and passionate about helping our amazing coast and seas recover. She has worked for Cornwall Wildlife Trust since 1999 becoming the Trust’s first Marine Officer and developing the Living Seas programme which currently supports a small team of six members of staff.  The Trust is involved in a wide range of marine conservation initiatives around the Cornish coast and nationally.  This includes data collection through dive surveys, marine animal sightings and strandings recording, community and youth engagement, promotion of sustainable fishing practices, and advocacy work to campaign for better management of our seas.

Professor Brendan Godley
Professor of Conservation Science, University of Exeter

Brendan’s research focuses on marine conservation, in particular marine vertebrates. He will be participating in the meeting as chair. Brendan coordinates the ExeterMarine initiative which seeks to bring together Exeter University’s diverse strengths across all colleges and campuses related to the marine realm.


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ProviderAlumni and supporters

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