Back from the brink: Reflections on culling, conservation and management of fisher-marine species interactions

A/Prof. Melissa Nursey-bray1

1University Of Adelaide, South Plympton, Australia


Throughout history, hunting for seals, whales and other marine mammals meant many species faced extinction. Changes in public opinion coupled with management policies have since meant that some of those species are recovering and in some cases, have perceived to have ‘bounced back from the brink’ – to the extent they now pose a threat to current fishing activity. There is conflict between many fisheries and marine mammals as a result of this new change. In unforeseen ways, the tensions between fishers and what are still often endangered species have had a social, emotional and economic impact. Given both marine species and fishing communities also face ongoing challenges relating to the impacts of climate change and decreasing stock numbers, this issue is emerging as a serious management concern. Using case studies from around the world, including Australia and Sweden, this paper reflects on this new management challenge, and considers ways in which such human-wildlife conflicts may be resolved.


Melissa Nursey-Bray is a social science researcher who focusses on community responses to and engagement in the environmental challenges facing us today. In particular her recent work has examined the impact of climate change and how to adapt to it and the role of social drivers, including conflict, knowledge, perception and power. She has undertaken extensive work on the role of and issues faced by fisheries in Australia, India, South Africa and Bangladesh.