In 1883, biologist T H Huxley proclaimed to the London Fisheries

In 1883, biologist T.H. Huxley proclaimed to the London Fisheries Exhibition, “I believe then that the cod fishery, the herring fishery, pilchard fishery, the mackerel fishery, and probably all the great sea fisheries are inexhaustible…” [10]. These proclamations, however, have proven to be incorrect. Fisheries science has since demonstrated that there is a maximum amount of fish in the world’s oceans and as such, all fisheries are exhaustible [11]. Indeed, a plethora of studies has documented a worldwide decline in fishery and

ecosystem health [12], [13] and [14]. In an attempt to address increasing concern regarding the well-documented decline DAPT solubility dmso in global biological resources, in 1988 the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) selleck chemicals convened the Ad Hoc Working Group of Experts of Biological Diversity. The goal of the working group was to determine if an international convention was necessary to ensure the worldwide protection and conservation of biological diversity [15]. The resulting Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) entered into force on December 29, 1993. Parties to

the convention include all 27 European Union states as well as 166 additional states [15]. The CBD represents an international political consensus that action is required to assure the conservation of worldwide biological resources. In April 2002, Parties to the CBD agreed upon the 2010 target. This goal required the parties to achieve a “significant reduction of the current rate

of biodiversity loss at the global, regional, and national level… to the benefit of all life on earth” [15]. To measure progress toward the 2010 target, the CBD organized a Subsidiary Body on Scientific Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA). This group coordinated the identification and research of scientifically viable indicators to measure global trends in biodiversity change. Decision VIII/15 of the Conference of the Parties outlined a framework of indicators enough for monitoring progress toward the 2010 target. A subset of the proposed indicators was accepted as “ready for immediate testing and use,” among them was the Marine Trophic Index (MTI) [16]. The MTI is a term coined by the CBD to reference the MTL of ecosystems based on fisheries catch statistics. In their briefing papers, the SBSTTA explained the importance of changes in mean trophic level: “The biomass of top predators in the North Atlantic has decreased by two-thirds in approximately 50 years and the mean trophic level of fisheries landings globally has declined at a rate of 0.05 to 0.1 per decade. The resulting shortened food chains leave the ecosystem increasingly vulnerable to natural and human induced stresses and reduce the supply of fish for human consumption.

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