Today is the World Oceans Day, a day meant to inform the populace about the need to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. Known as the ‘Blue Heart’ of the planet, oceans are home to about 97% of life on Earth and generates the oxygen we breathe, regulates our climate, forms clouds that give us rain, and provides habitat for some of the most incredible creatures in the world. In simpler terms, its our life support system, yet less than 1% of it is protected and that is why your blogger found it wise to share his thoughts on this special international day. The aim of the day is to be the game changer that will reverse the decline in the health of our ocean for people, planet and prosperity. It will be solutions-focused with engagement from all.World Ocean Day involvement at this level is from governments, the UN systems, intergovernmental organisations, civil society organisations, academic institutions, financial institutions etc. to build on existing work, share experiences, and identify ways to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 14. With 90% of the oceans’ large fish now gone, is the solution just to stop eating fish for those who eat them? Of cause your blogger doesn’t. In my view, not exactly. People are not the main cause of fish disappearance because the largest predatory ocean bird is now chicken which eat more fish than puffins and albatross together. The biggest threat to fish populations, wild and farmed, is livestock. Studies have shown that factory farmed animals consume more fish than all humans on the planet. But as the proponents of World Oceans Day have indicated, it is not too late to act. However, simple but yet critical decisions each of us can make will help restore the balance to Earth’s precious life support system.World Oceans Day will go along way in addressing marine pollution, managing, protecting, conserving and restoring marine and coastal ecosystems as well as minimising and addressing ocean acidification.
Also, making fisheries sustainable and increasing economic benefits to least developed countries and providing access for small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets will greatly help. Additionally, it is important to increase scientific knowledge, and developing research capacity and transfer of marine technology and enhancing the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources by implementing international law as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. When it comes individuals like me and you, we can reduce or eliminate animal products from diet, the single most powerful thing we can do as a consumer to ease the stress on our oceans. Not only that, fish are fed to pigs, chickens and even other fish in fish farms in numbers that are wiping out ocean ecosystems. Am one of those who have never used a polythene bag and I’ve totally said no plastic bags for the last decade or so. The fact is, every piece of plastic ever made still exists. There are approximately over 45,000 pieces of plastic floating in each square mile of the world’s oceans. If all of us can think of the marine animals next time we shop, the world oceans would be in a better shape.Eating organic like your blogger does is helpful to the oceans too. I also think it’s better for us, and the planet. There are over 100 dead zones identified in the world’s oceans that are primarily caused by chemical fertilisers in run off. If those involved can take action our oceans will remain healthy. World Oceans Day events are a space for sharing experiences and provide alternative opportunities for dialogue. As we celebrate World Oceans day 2017, I hope stakeholders would be able to adequately advocate the need to exercise free, prior and informed consent in marine conservation efforts within communities because they need to be empowered to participate in the spaces that decide the use of the resources that are their livelihoods and impact their way of life.Importantly, we have been given so much through the sacrifices and commitment of our ancestors to be where we are today as global community, we must, because our conscience demands that we do.