Improving how we manage oceans
“People, planet, profits.” That’s the triple bottom-line that Telfer School of Management Professor Dan Lane scrutinizes as he weighs the sustainability of the world’s fish stocks.
For the past 30 years, Lane has been an independent academic expert, using management science and applied mathematics to inform decisions about fish quotas and how to best manage human interventions in marine ecosystems.
One eye-opener was the crash of the northern cod fishery in the early 1990s. The Fisheries Research Conservation Council was set up in response, bringing together scientists, academics and industry to provide advice to Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Lane served on the FRCC for six years, making sure that information gathered by the fishers themselves was taken into account. Today, he is among the pool of global experts contributing to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization annual report on the state of oceans and fisheries.
It’s a tricky business with many variables. For example, Canada and the U.S. manage their Exclusive Economic Zones — coastal waters divided up into sections for fisheries — but fish don’t respect lines on a map.
“Fish can take care of themselves. The problem comes when we intervene in their life cycles,” says Lane.
Lane is sharing decades of experience with his students through projects such as C-Change. Master’s and PhD students have examined how coastal communities have been affected by storm surges, erosion and changes to fisheries. They will land their catch in the form of a final report this year.