What would protecting 30% of the ocean by 2030 look like?
June 8th is World Ocean Day. For us it’s a moment to look at the natural resource that gives us so much joy, and say a little word of thanks. Today you don't need to sneak off to find some time in the ocean, you can simply say that you're celebrating World Ocean Day.
At C-Skins we’re taking today to highlight the Global Ocean Alliance’s 30by30 campaign. The campaign seeks to protect 30% of ocean environments by the year 2030 as a way of combating the effects of climate change, overfishing and habitat destruction. The ocean is an incredible natural resource and the 30by30 campaign is uniting governments across the world to develop and maintain protected ocean habitats to secure the health of the ocean for generations to come.
Regular ocean-goes are familiar with certain facts; the idea that more of the surface of the planet is water than land doesn’t take people living in coastal communities by surprise. Not all communities have the same access to the ocean however, and it is the responsibility of those of us who experience and enjoy the ocean to advocate for its health.
Marine Protected Areas have gained in popularity and significance in recent years. It was one of Barak Obama’s final acts of office as President of the United States to accredit the area around Hawaii as a natural marine reserve, and more recently the North Devon coastline has been instated with protected status as a World Surfing Reserve. As it currently stands, 2.7% of the world’s ocean is protected with the level of safeguarding being advocated by the International Ocean Alliance.
Joss Ash by Photographer Jack Neale
The campaign seeks to ensure 30% marine protection by 2030 to maintain a balanced and sustainable ocean environment. Research and data published in the scientific journal Nature estimates that this level of protection would reverse the current biodiversity loss being faced by the ocean.
You can follow this link to see more images by conservation photographer by Octavio Aburto.
Protected status makes certain destructive human activities such as drilling, shipping, and trawler fishing illegal within the MPA boundaries. These activities cause damage to marine ecosystems, particularly when unregulated and unmonitored, resulting in a loss of biodiversity and ocean life.
When ocean ecosystems are healthy, they hold more life in the form of fish, coral, and algae; they operate as better carbon sinks, sequestering carbon as opposed to releasing it. Healthier oceans area also able to sustain fishing operations without the risk of overfishing.
Within the UK there are currently 371 protected marine areas covering 38% of UK seas. You can check out the map of protected marine spaces here and learn about how coastal communities are being protected thanks to their presence.
All of us who enjoy the ocean can play our part in protecting it in the smallest of ways. Often, understanding what’s happening and the steps that are being taken at our home break, our local beach, or a stretch of coast that we love, is all that it takes to trigger small actions. And when lots of us take small actions, we can have a great impact.