World Oceans Day 2014: building ocean optimism

Chagos coral reef
World Oceans Day - 8 June 2014 - is a good day to think positively about the oceans. Around the world, hundreds of organisations and thousands of people will be beach cleaning, painting ocean scenes, attending talks, watching an ocean movie, diving or joining one of the many other scheduled activities and events. It’s a good day to focus on the many different ways to conserve the oceans. Although there is overwhelming scientific evidence that the ocean is in real trouble due to overfishing, pollution, habitat destruction and climate change, there are also reasons for hope.

At ZSL, our job is to focus on building successful conservation initiatives with a strong scientific evidence base, then replicating them quickly and effectively. This involves new approaches and partnerships, which is why so much of ZSL’s work is collaborative. Here are 10 ZSL ocean conservation projects that we think provide 10 good reasons for being optimistic about the future of the ocean:

  1. Saving seahorses together: Using new technology, anyone can help seahorse conservation through our iSeahorse initiative.
  2. Back from the brink: We’ve focused our conservation efforts on the rarest of ocean-dwellers, like the critically endangered European eel, the angel shark and sawfishes to bring them back from the brink of extinction.
  3. Community-managed marine protected areas (MPAs): Through Project Seahorse, we’ve helped establish 35 MPAs in the Philippines which now have more fish and richer marine life.
  4. Mangrove restoration: We’ve helped communities replant hundreds of hectares of mangroves, improving fisheries and protecting them against typhoons.
  5. Net-Works: With industry partners Interface Inc., we’ve developed a community-based supply chain that recycles discarded fishing nets into beautiful carpet tiles, reducing waste and providing valuable income to local communities. We’ve already removed 25,900km (30 tonnes) fishing nets from damaging beaches and the ocean.   
  6. Protecting ocean wilderness areas: We’ve helped establish the Chagos archipelago as the largest marine reserve in the world (644,000km2), and conduct scientific research to support its management.
  7. Conserving UK Overseas Territory biodiversity: Over 90% of UK biodiversity is in its Overseas Territories. In addition to Chagos in the Indian Ocean, we are working to protect and manage marine resources in the remote Pitcairn Islands in the South Pacific.
  8. EDGE Coral Reefs: We train in-country conservationists through our EDGE of Existence training programme, focusing on the most unique coral species in the ocean.
  9. Saving the ocean in style: We established Project Ocean with Selfridges department store and work together in this innovative partnership to reduce overfishing and increase global ocean protection.
  10. Collaboration for ocean conservation: We collaborate widely, including co-ordinating the Marine Reserves Coalition and IUCN Mangrove Specialist Group.    

Happy World Oceans Day from ZSL!

Join us on Twitter: #oceanoptimism

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