THE GOAL HERE?
Over 3 billion people depend on marine and coastal
biodiversity for their livelihood
use the world’s
ocean, seas, and
Oceans are our planet’s life support and regulate the global climate
system. They are the world’s largest ecosystem, home to nearly a million
known species and containing the vast untapped potential for scientific
Oceans and fisheries continue to support the global population’s economic, social
and environmental needs. Despite the critical importance of conserving oceans,
decades of irresponsible exploitation have led to an alarming level of degradation.
Current efforts to protect key marine environments and small-scale fisheries, and to invest
in the ocean, science is not yet meeting the urgent need to safeguard this vast, yet fragile, resource.
The drastic reduction in human activity brought about by the COVID- 19 crisis, while rooted in
tragedy, is a chance for oceans to recuperate. It is also an opportunity to chart a
sustainable recovery path that will ensure livelihoods for decades to come
in harmony with the natural environment.
So what’s the problem?
The ocean absorbs around 23 percent of annual CO2 emissions
generated by human activity and helps mitigate the impacts of
climate change. The ocean has also absorbed more than 90% of the
excess heat in the climate system.
Ocean heat is at record levels, causing widespread marine
heatwaves, threatening its rich eco-systems, and killing coral reefs
around the world.
Increasing levels of debris in the world’s oceans are also having a major
environmental and economic impact. Every year, an estimated 5 to 12 million
metric tonnes of plastic enter the ocean, costing roughly $13 billion per year –
including clean-up costs and financial losses in fisheries and other industries.
About 89% of plastic litter found on the ocean floor are single-use items like
About 80% of all tourism takes place in coastal areas. The ocean-related tourism industry grows an estimated US$ 134 billion per year and in some countries, the industry already supports over a third of the labor force. Unless carefully managed, tourism can pose a major threat to the natural resources on which it depends, and to local culture and industry.
So what can we do?
For open ocean and deep sea areas, sustainability
can be achieved only through increased internati
onal cooperation to protect vulnerable habitats.
Establishing comprehensive, effective and
equitably managed systems of government-protected
areas should be pursued to conserve bio- diversity and
ensure a sustainable future for the fishing industry.
On a local level, we should make ocean-friendly choices when buying products or eating food derived from oceans and consume only what we need. Selecting certified products is a good place to start.
Most importantly, we can spread the message about how important marine life is and why we need to protect it.
We should eliminate plastic
usage as much as possible and organize beach clean-ups.
How is the
The health of the ocean is intimately
tied to our health. According to
UNESCO, the ocean can be an ally
against COVID- 19 – bacteria found
in the depths of the ocean are
used to carry out rapid testing to
detect the presence of COVID-19.
And the diversity of species
found in the ocean offers great promise
Furthermore, marine fisheries provide
57 million jobs globally and provide the
primary source of protein for over 50%
of the population in the least developed countries.