Progress in Marine Conservation: 25-year retrospective

The 5th International Conference on Progress in Marine Conservation took place 3-7 September 2018 in Stralsund, Germany.  The conference was organised and hosted by Germany’s Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN), and held at the award-winning German Oceanographic Museum OZEANEUM.

Expanding the conference’s traditional focus on Europe to a more global coverage in 2018 served to mark several simultaneous 25-year anniversaries, including that of the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro (which established the Convention on Biological Diversity), the EU Habitats Directive, the new Helsinki Commission (HELCOM) and Convention, the Oslo-Paris (OSPAR) Convention and the establishment – after German reunification –  of the Division on Marine Nature Conservation of the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation on the island of Vilm, Germany.  As a consequence, the conference was attended by representatives of German and European Government, international NGOs, the fishing industry, academics, scientists and students from all over the world.

GOBI’s contribution was a scene-setting presentation at the global scale, highlighting efforts towards the establishment of a global network of Marine Protected Areas – notably by the achievements to date of the EBSA process.  Keynote presentations by world-leading authorities in conservation science also gave a sobering yet hopeful prognosis for the future status of marine biodiversity.

Prof. Henning von Nordheim leads a tour through the ancient beech forest on Vilm.

Lastly, the conference organisers and distinguished speakers gave a heartfelt tribute to Professor Henning von Nordheim, who – amongst many notable and far-reaching achievements both in Germany and internationally – originated the Progress in Marine Conservation conference series, and he is likely to retire before the next one.  By all accounts, he will be much missed.