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Oceana warns that unless immediate action is taken, the damage to our oceans will become irreversible. (Photo: OCEANA/Carlos Minguell)

The oceans are in trouble, but there are solutions: Oceana

WORLDWIDE
Thursday, June 09, 2011, 03:40 (GMT + 9)

As part of the celebration of the World Ocean Day on Wednesday 8 June, the organization Oceana warned that during this century 70 million tonnes of fish have already been discarded and 110,000 hectares of marine phanerogam, which offered shelter to thousands of organisms, have been destroyed.

Also, the international marine conservation organization warned that 99 per cent of endangered marine species lacks conservation plans.

For the NGO, if governments do not take immediate decisive coordinated action, oceans and fisheries resources will face "devastating and irreversible changes."

According to Ricardo Aguilar, research director of Oceana in Europe, "Less than 1 per cent of the sea surface is effectively protected."

"In addition, there is not a single stock in the world that is managed responsibly, to the extent that the stocks of Mediterranean sharks declined by 99 per cent in the twentieth century over the original populations. World's fishery resources are being dispossessed for the benefit of a few and governments seem unwilling to curb the trend," he added.

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), fishing is performed in 94 per cent of the oceans and 85 per cent of stocks are fully exploited, overexploited or depleted.

Oceana says that in the European Union (EU) the situation is not better, but the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) can help right the wrongs of the past.

According to Oceana, in Europe 13 per cent of the catch (1.3 million tonnes) is discarded, that is to say, returned into the sea when dead or dying; in the Baltic Sea there is a great destruction of marine life from destructive fishing practices and mismanagement; in the Mediterranean Sea, 41 per cent of shark and ray species are threatened; and only 2.3 per cent of Community waters are protected under the Natura 2000 network.

Therefore, the NGO supports a CFP that offers priority to long-term ecological sustainability and applies an ecosystem approach and precautionary management of fishing activities, and which forces Member States to monitor and make fishing regulations apply in full.

"The oceans are in trouble, the science is clear, and the solutions exist. What is missing is the political motivation for change. World Oceans Day shouldn’t be a day for celebration in Europe, but rather a cry for help and a call for action,” said Xavier Pastor, Executive Director for Oceana in Europe.

"The recovery of our seas depends on strong policies and legislation that end harmful subsidies and the wasteful practice of discards, create Marine Protected Areas that are large enough, well managed, and in the right places, end destructive fishing practices, and follow scientific advice," he concluded.

By Analia Murias
[email protected]
www.fis.com
 

 


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