Exploitation of our seas and oceans is increasing rapidly as resources on land become depleted or more expensive to obtain, and the blue economy expands. Simultaneously, there is an increasing amount of legislation governing use and exploitation of the oceans and seas, both at the national and international levels. Seascape Consultants occupies a unique position at the frontier between science and policy. Our consultants have a sound scientific knowledge but also understand the industry and governance perspectives.
Seascape currently provides overall leadership of the Global Ocean Biodiversity Initiative (GOBI), funded by the International Climate Initiative (IKI). Prof. David Johnson is the GOBI Coordinator, supported by a small Secretariat team. GOBI’s international partnership of organisations are committed to advancing the scientific basis for conserving biological diversity in the marine environment. In particular, GOBI contributes expertise, knowledge and data to support the Convention on Biological Diversity’s efforts to identify ecologically and biologically significant marine areas (EBSAs) by assisting a range of intergovernmental, regional and national organisations to use and develop data, tools and methodologies. GOBI also undertakes research to generate new science that will enhance the value of EBSAs and their utility for promoting environmental protection and management for specific areas of the world’s oceans. The intention is ultimately to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss through the application of ecosystem approaches to the management of human activities, and to support the establishment of networks of representative marine protected areas in national and international waters.
Prof. Phil Weaver and Dr Vikki Gunn coordinated two major European research projects examining marine ecosystems and related deep-sea environments. HERMES (Hotspot Ecosystem Research on the Margins of European Seas) and HERMIONE (Hotspot Ecosystem Research and Man’s Impact on European Seas). Within these projects, research was carried out on the complexity of marine ecosystems and the stresses that they are being put under by human activities. More recently, Phil and Vikki coordinated the FP7-funded project, MIDAS (Managing Impacts of Deep Sea Resource Exploitation), which investigated the potential environmental and ecological impacts of deep-sea resource extraction. Building on the knowledge gained, Seascape led an EU-funded initiative working in partnership with the International Seabed Authority to assist in developing a regional environmental management plan for sulphide mining in the North Atlantic Ocean.
David edited the ESF Marine Board’s Position paper on Achieving Ecologically Coherent MPA Networks in Europe (2012). He has led an assessment of ecological coherence of the OSPAR Commission’s MPA network (2013) and coordinated capacity building training for the Sustainable Ocean Initiative (Convention on Biological Diversity) in West Africa (2013). In 2014 and 2015 David worked directly for UNEP on Regional Seas Partnership projects concerned with indicators and marine protected areas.
Examples of industry/international projects:
- Coordinator and Secretariat for the Global Ocean Biodiversity Initiative (GOBI)
- Coordinator of the EU-funded MIDAS project with 32 partners from 11 countries
- Coordination of the EU-funded HERMIONE project with 36 partners from 15 countries (Phil Weaver and Vikki Gunn, via NOC)
- Coordination of the EU-funded HERMES project with 50 partners from 17 countries (Phil Weaver and Vikki Gunn, via NOC)