One case study - standfirst

The Gulf of Maine lobster fisheries, USA

In the Gulf of Maine the American lobster comprises over 80 per cent of the total marine resource value, but this economic success does not equal ecosystem success.

R. Kleine/Flickr

R. Kleine/Flickr

This case illustrates a failure to see the full integration of socio-economic and ecological systems.  In the Gulf of Maine the American lobster comprises over 80 per cent of the total marine resource value, but this economic success does not equal ecosystem success. Rather, the long-term sequential depletion of cod, hake, haddock, halibut and sea urchins has resulted in a vulnerable near monoculture of lobsters. Elsewhere, such high lobster densities have preceded an outbreak of shell disease. A similar collapse in Maine would be devastating for the over 7,000 lobstermen and their support industries.