With so much of our time, energy, and health being affected by COVID-19; you might have missed some groundbreaking news for marine conservation! This past week, several articles and blogs have been shedding light on a new scientific review and plan that scientists released in “Nature” journal. This plan describes how we can restore oceans by 2050! As ocean enthusiasts of Respect the Fin, we thrive on success stories, passion, and a true sense of care and dedication to the ocean’s wildlife. Let’s get the scoop on what the oceans need to be restored in 30 years’ time!
The Problems at Hand…
We have heard countless times about the damage, destruction, overfishing, and pollution of the big blue. Just about every single ocean habitat has suffered because of anthropogenic activity for hundreds of years. The global climate crisis is one that has detrimentally affected the health of all oceans worldwide.
From acidification to lack of sustainable fishing practices, rising water temperatures to plastic pollution; the ocean is constantly battling to adapt and recover from the pressures of human activities. An article written by Damian Carrington in the Guardian outlines the successes and continuing struggles the ocean faces today. Read more details here.
What We Need
The review that was published in Nature outlines what we would need in terms of economic investment, Marine Protected Area (MPA) size, global fishing practice adjustments, and public awareness. In this chart that the Guardian used by Duarte et al, Nature 2020, you can see seven species that are recovering worldwide. This gives us a sense of what we can accomplish when we come together with better regulations, more protected areas, and full-fledged community and scientific efforts that help conserve and protect wildlife.
Another current victory is that people are listening. A considerable amount of people realize the importance of the ocean for human productivity. In the Guardian’s article, it says, “The measures needed, including protecting large swathes of ocean, sustainable fishing, and pollution controls, would cost billions of dollars a year, the scientists say, but would bring benefits 10 times as high.”
The plan focuses on salt marshes, mangroves, seagrasses, coral reefs, kelp, oyster reefs, fisheries, megafauna, and the deep sea (Science Alert). The carbon absorption abilities of habitats such as salt marshes and seagrasses can alleviate some contributing factors of global climate change. Additionally, mangroves can provide a natural barrier for elements such as floods and large wave events. The review in Nature discusses six different wedges of recovery that will work in conjunction to help restore oceans. These are: protecting species, protecting spaces, harvesting wisely, restoring habitats, reducing pollution, and mitigating climate change.
I hope you enjoyed reading about an important review for the ocean. Please feel free to comment, give us your feedback, and check out the published review in Nature!
Written By: Bailey Higa