Safeguarding Ocean Earth
Our ocean is critically important. It covers 70% of the planet, supports a wide variety of marine life, and provides food and employment for billions of people. However, we have been taking it for granted. Although it has proved to be resilient, the ocean is facing big risks due to human activities.
This June, on the 20th anniversary of the first Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, leaders from around the world will return to the Brazilian city for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (“Rio+20”) to discuss the international commitments they made at the first summit and (we hope) make meaningful decisions for sustainable development.
The agenda for the Rio+20 conference is broad and ambitious, but we now have the opportunity to make the ocean count! It has been left off the priority list for too long, and it shows. Leaders can correct our course to ensure our ocean can sustain marine and human life in the decades to come.
‘Oceans through the Ages’ film made by ZSL & Pew Environment Group :
Strong proposals have been made for improving treatment of our ocean resources, but they are in danger of being watered down. Some governments are actually moving backward, even from decisions that were made just 10 years ago at the 1992 Earth Summit in Johannesburg.
If we carry on with business as usual, the bountiful ocean that we now enjoy may cease to exist. So – let’s make 2012 the turning point for our ocean!
Ten steps that decision makers must take to save our oceans:
1. Negotiate a new agreement for the protection of biodiversity on the high seas.
2. Require science-based fisheries management, stop overfishing, and restore depleted fish stocks.
3. Reduce the number of boats currently fishing, particularly on the high seas.
4. Eliminate harmful fisheries subsidies.
5. End deep-sea bottom trawling and other destructive fishing practices.
6. Increase the amount of ocean that is protected in national waters and on the high seas.
7. Recognize and combat illegal fishing as criminal activity.
8. Require U.N. oversight of regional fisheries management organizations.
9. Prohibit the fishing of threatened or endangered species.
10. Improve monitoring, control, and surveillance of fishing vessels on the high seas and within the national waters of countries.
We have a responsibility to future generations to manage these common resources in the best way possible. You can make your voice heard by signing the Pledge for a Better Planet petition, which ZSL will be presenting at Rio+20 to encourage the world’s leaders to put in place and implement practices that will ensure a healthy planet for generations to come.
Did you know?
- Almost no one is in charge of the high seas (ocean areas outside the 200-mile area bordering coasts), so they are increasingly over-exploited.
- Less than 2% of ocean is protected; something the Marine Reserves Coalition is trying to change.
- 85% of global fish stocks are fully exploited or worse. This is the highest percentage on record and means that only 15% of stocks can withstand increased fishing.
- These are scary thoughts considering the global human population will jump from 7 billion to 9 billion in the next 40 years.
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