Monday, 8 June 2009

June 8th is World Oceans Day

Today is the inaugural World Oceans Day - with the theme “Our oceans, our responsibility”.

It's also the day that a new film asks us to imagine a world without fish.

Oceans cover 70% of the world and are vital to
  • the regulation of the global climate
  • the balance of the ecosystem
  • the sustenance of people 's livelihoods around the world.
Greek Fishing Boats
(Pastel 19.5 x 25.5")

copyright Katherine Tyrrell

An increasing number of countries have been celebrating World Oceans Day and our connection to the sea on June 8th since a UN Conference in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.

Last year, the UN General Assembly finally confirmed that, as from 2009, 8 June would be designated by the United Nations as “World Oceans Day”.
The oceans are essential to food security and the health and survival of all life, power our climate and are a critical part of the biosphere. The official designation of World Oceans Day is an opportunity to raise global awareness of the current challenges faced by the international community in connection with the oceans.......The theme of World Oceans Day, “Our oceans, our responsibility”, emphasizes our individual and collective duty to protect the marine environment and carefully manage its resources. Safe, healthy and productive seas and oceans are integral to human well-being, economic security and sustainable development.
Secretary General, UN
Damage to the oceans
Eating fish is good for us, but catching it in the way we do devastates the sea. Nearly nine tenths of European stocks are overfished, and around a third are beyond safe biological limits: that is, the adult population is too depleted to provide replacement stock. Almost all cod caught in the North Sea have not had a chance to breed.
The Guardian - World oceans day: all the fish in the sea
Here are some of the human activities and other changes which we need to be concerned about:
  • Overexploitation - through illegal, unreported, unregulated fishing and other destructive fishing practices - is severely damaging important fisheries and vulnerable marine ecosystems, such as corals.
  • Fisheries are also being damaged by invasive alien species and marine pollution, especially from land-based sources.
  • Climate change has produced an increase in sea temperatures, sea-levels are rising and there has been a rise in ocean acidification - all pose a further threat to marine life, coastal and island communities and national economies.
  • Criminal activities threaten lives and the peace and security of the oceans. Piracy and armed robbery against ships threaten the lives of seafarers and the safety of international shipping, which transports 90 per cent of the world’s goods.
  • Lives are also threatened through the smuggling of illegal drugs and the trafficking of people by sea and across oceans
Raising awareness

The Ocean Project has been one of the organisations which has been promoting the notion of World Ocean Day and for the last six years it has been helping aquariums, zoos, museums, conservation organizations and agencies, universities, schools, and businesses to celebrate World Ocean Day.

It's got a very well developed website which is well worth exploring. Here are some of the aspects which are worth taking a look at:
You can also read more about it The Guardian's Editorial today World oceans day: all the fish in the sea

I learned about World Oceans Day through Stephen's Fry's 'tweet' about the film The End of the Line which asks us to imagine a world without fish

Do you eat fish and like fish? I do and that's why I've told you about World Oceans Day. If you're concerned too why not tell somebody about what's happening today?


Pam Johnson Brickell said...

Than you, Katherine, for finding this great info! You win the 'Nature Steward' award for helping spread the news. I've linked today's blog post to this article in hopes of spreading World Ocean Day a little farther.

Katherine Tyrrell said...

Thanks Pam - it wasn't what I thought I'd be blogging about today - but that Stephen Fry keeps identifying 'need to know' facts of life!

I'm actually very pleased that this blog has got a very conservation oriented approach - we had a great time on Earth Day a while ago.

Lindsay said...

Wonderful post Katherine and I'm so glad this orginization is getting some press. We saw the IMAX film last week on the Oceans and it's just amazing how many fisheries are in danger. The one off the East coast of Africa is about the only one not in trouble and this because their coast line is so inaccessible.

Africantapestry and Myfrenchkitchen said...

A great informative post Katherine..

vivien said...

good post

Jeanette said...

I find this post interesting on several levels.

Living on an island whose fishery has been ravaged by offshore trawlers as well as pollution, I have a special kinship with the ocean and its preservation.

Eating fish or shellfish may not be quite the health benefit that we think, depending on where it is caught. The increased levels of toxicity in plant and animal species in the worlds oceans is alarming and is the cause (in my opinion) of many of the allergic responses to seafood - my own included.

I want this type of stewardship and awareness to be present daily, not just once a year.