Our oceans are vital to our existence and nobody knows that better than Andrew Sharpless of Oceana. He and Sean Casey the Parliamentary Secretary were on stage at the Collision Conference presenting their efforts on saving the worlds oceans. Canada has gone from protecting only 1% of its coast line to 10% in less than a decade, hopefully this will continue. Our coasts are great spaces for marine life to lay eggs and eat.
The key takeaway from the panel was the really cool global fishing map which tracks the location of every fishing vessel on the planet! The ships are tracked using regional Vessel Monitoring System (VMS), so the some of the data might not be accessible depending on which countries abide by the standard broadcasting rules.
Tracking the ships helps governments and NGOs enforce rules and regulations. Casey pointed out that tracking the ships will also help with identifying the polluters who drop their nets (accidentally) and leave them to drift (most of the plastic waste in the oceans comes from fishing activity).
Just a decade ago, building an accurate picture of the commercial fishing across the globe would have been impossible. Today, thanks to advances in satellite technology, cloud computing and machine learning, Global Fishing Watch is making it a reality.
Kjell Inge Røkke made billions from running a shipping company and now he wants to give back to the very thing that made him wealth – the high seas. He has committed to giving away most of his fortune to better the world, and he just announced his donation to WWF Norway. His donation is specifically going to a research vessel that will provide scientists a great way to research the oceans. What’s more is that the same ship will be able to remove 5 tonnes of plastic from the ocean everyday!
Røkke, a former fisherman, said the oceans “have provided significant value for society” and directly to him and his family.
“However,” he noted, “the oceans are also under greater pressure than ever before from overfishing, coastal pollution, habitat destruction, climate change and ocean acidification, and one of the most pressing challenges of all, plasticization of the ocean. The need for knowledge and solutions is pressing.”
“The REV will be a platform for gathering knowledge,” Røkke told Business Insider. “I would like to welcome researchers, environmental groups, and other institutions on board, to acquire new skills to evolve innovative solutions to address challenges and opportunities connected to the seas.”
The UK will be banning commercial fishing in approximately one million kilometres of their ocean waters. The country is expanding their marine protection areas in the Atlantic and Pacific around the British Overseas Territories. This is good news as overfishing is contributing part to the global mass extinction of marine wildlife, anything countries can do to curtail the current fishing levels will help the environment and at risk species.
A 840,000 sq km (320,000 sq mile) area around Pitcairn, where the mutineers of the Bounty settled, becomes a no-take zone for any fishing from this week. St Helena, around 445,000 sq km of the south Atlantic ocean and home to whale sharks and humpbacks, is now also designated as a protected area.
The foreign office said it would designate two further marine protection zones, one each around two south Altantic islands – Ascension by 2019 and Tristan da Cunha by 2020.
Sir Alan Duncan, minister of state for Europe and the Americas, said: “Protecting 4m sq km of ocean is a fantastic achievement, converting our historic legacy into modern environmental success.”
The world’s oceans are incredibly important to the overall wellbeing of our planet. They absorb a lot of CO2 and harbour multiple ecosystems that we are still learning about. Despite the importance of the world’s oceans we often ignore their health.
World Oceans Day is today and it’s a reminder how amazing these oceans are and that we ought to do more to protect them while revitalizing areas that have been negatively impacted by climate change.
Climate change is a global problem demanding a global solution. The Paris Agreement has created a framework for climate action around the world. At its last session in Bonn, the World Heritage Committee—which has had a carbon neutral policy for its sessions since 2007—voiced its hope that an agreement would be reached at COP21, and called on all States Parties to mobilize global climate action on the ground. For coral reefs and many other marine ecosystems, keeping climatic warming to the Paris Agreement’s long-term goal of 1.5°C is essential. UNESCO has been working for years to track and manage climate impacts.
The world’s oceans are polluted with massive amounts of waste plastics, so much so that we’ve had to name a grouping of plastic waste because it’s so large. There are many ways to reduce our use of plastics and our production of waste (hint: don’t buy so many things); we still need to deal with what has already been dumped into the oceans.
A new effort launching soon off the coast of The Netherlands will use a floating dam to catch floating plastics. The structure will allow animals though the mess while catching waste better than previous methods.
Plastic waste is a major threat to animals in the sea, who either choke on the material or suffer from related contaminants. But most ocean waste projects try to collect plastic waste with boats that end up inadvertently endangering ocean life. The revolutionary new dam, scheduled for deployment in the second quarter of 2016, will instead use currents to round up waves of garbage—bags, bottles, and other waste—while also letting sea creatures through. Passive, safe collection is the idea.