So, I'm guessing by now some of you have seen the huge amount of coverage with headlines somethingn like "NO SEAFOOD BY 2048!" - it's even in The NY Times. What's interesting is that fisheries collapse around the world - not news (well, to those paying attention). Moreso, the 2048 date was a throwaway line from one piece of analysis from this paper in Science. The paper is more focused on the consequences of marine biodiversity loss in the oceans, and uses metaanalysis to show that experimental data is in concordance with what we are seeing in field patterns - that diversity leads to increases in functions and services, and that MPAs and other things that increase and preserve diversity lead to recover of fisheries.
Human-dominated marine ecosystems are experiencing accelerating loss of populations and species, with largely unknown consequences. We analyzed local experiments, long-term regional time series, and global fisheries data to test how biodiversity loss affects marine ecosystem services across temporal and spatial scales. Overall, rates of resource collapse increased and recovery potential, stability, and water quality decreased exponentially with declining diversity. Restoration of biodiversity, in contrast, increased productivity fourfold and decreased variability by 21%, on average. We conclude that marine biodiversity loss is increasingly impairing the ocean's capacity to provide food, maintain water quality, and recover from perturbations. Yet available data suggest that at this point, these trends are still reversible.
I'm heartened that after the "hook" some news agencies are also reporting the main result of the paper, but not everywhere. Interesting how a little piece that is almost tangential to the main point of a major ecological advance can become what gets passed on to the public.