We need thriving marine and coastal ecosystems to support a climate-resilient future
In past decades, we have witnessed a succession of strategies and action plans for safeguarding the ocean. While these plans were needed, they have never been fully implemented. In 2008, European governments committed to have “ecologically diverse and dynamic oceans and seas which are clean, healthy and productive” by 2020. They are nowhere near achieving this. On any given day, a dolphin in the ocean has to navigate warming and more acidic seas, while also dodging trawling nets, offshore drilling, noisy and heavily polluting ships, invasive species, diseases from farmed fish, dead zones, construction, tourism, and swathes of pollutant-laden plastics and microplastics.
But the tide is turning.
Citizens young and old took to the streets, urging European governments to take global leadership on an ecological transition. In response, the European Commission has committed to ambitious climate and biodiversity strategies that will shift investment and legislation towards a climate-resilient and ecologically diverse future. The ocean must be an integral part of these strategies.
We need marine and coastal ecosystems to be rich in fauna, flora, and genetic biodiversity so that they can perform their natural functions and support life on earth.