Turquoise water Arabian Sea diving spot

Sea Around Us research included in ‘definitive volume on large marine ecosystems’

Turquoise water Arabian Sea diving spot
Arabian Sea. Photo by Naveen Gollapalli, Wikimedia Commons.

Research produced by current and past members of the Sea Around Us has been included in what is being described as “a definitive volume on large marine ecosystems.”

The book, titled Ocean sustainability: Assessing and managing the world’s large marine ecosystems, presents best assessment and management practices based on examples from 37 years of published peer-reviewed papers on large marine ecosystems or LMEs.

The articles that make up this volume were selected following the thorough discussions that took place during a 2021 webinar on “Large Marine Ecosystem: Results Supporting Ocean Sustainability,” organized by the Global Environment Facility’s IW:LEARN project, implemented by the United Nations Development Program and the United Nations Environment Program.

Cover book Ocean sustainability: Assessing and managing the world’s large marine ecosystems

Six papers by Sea Around Us members are included in the book. They cover topics such as stratified models of large marine ecosystems, exemplified by the South China Sea; database-driven models of the world’s LMEs; the status of fisheries in large marine ecosystems from 1950 to 2010; the rebuilding of global fisheries; fisheries catch underreporting in West Africa’s large marine ecosystems, and the reconciliation of fisheries catch and ocean productivity.

Overall, the Sea Around Us has produced a dozen articles focusing on large marine ecosystems throughout its 23 years of existence. In addition to this, the Sea Around Us is the only research group in the world that not only analyzes fisheries catch data at the LME-level but which also generates spatially allocated catch time series and derived statistics at the level of large marine ecosystems. Such data, covering the years 1950 to 2018, and soon to be updated to 2019, can be found at https://www.seaaroundus.org/data/#/lme.


The LME concept was pioneered in the mid-1980s by Kenneth Sherman of NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service and Lewis Alexander of the University of Rhode Island.

Together with other colleagues, Sherman and Alexander agreed on the fact that large areas of the oceans function as ecosystems, and that overexploitation of living resources, and pollution from air, land, and water, along with natural drivers, have an impact on the productivity of these ecosystems.

The concept of LMEs is, thus key to the development of large-scale marine ecosystem management and it is considered by the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration one of the 10 most important conceptual advances in its (and its predecessors’) 200+-year history. The Sea Around Us is pleased to have contributed to this development.