Despite decades of warnings, all of the indicators on biodiversity, acidification, fish stocks and pollution point to an international state of crisis.

Our future depends on the protection and restoration of our ocean and seas. The ocean produces more than 50% of the oxygen we breathe, is the main food source for more than 3.5 billion people and regulates our climate. We need marine ecosystems to be rich in fauna, flora and genetic biodiversity so that they can perform their natural functions and help us to mitigate the worst effects of climate breakdown.

Humans are imposing multiple stressors on the health and immune system of the ocean. Only by removing those stressors can we give the ocean a fighting chance of enduring the consequences of climate breakdown – think of it like curing pneumonia to better fight cancer.

We know what needs to be done: end overfishing and harmful fishing practices, phase out pollution from land and sea sources, protect wildlife and habitats against the impacts of shipping and other maritime activities, to name a few. This change requires firm political action. We have had enough of talking about plans and strategies – it is time to put them into practice.

What is preventing us from making the changes we need? What has to happen so that we do not miss another deadline in another 10 years? This is the question that will be addressed at the Ocean Action! conference.

Ocean Action! will bring together policy makers, scientists, activists and artists to call on the EU for action on its commitment to protect and restore our seas and ocean. We will discuss the cost of inaction. Most importantly, we will chart a new route out of the crisis.

Ocean Action! will be an all-day event, featuring plenary sessions with inspirational speeches from highly regarded guests, together with parallel breakout sessions where participants will get a chance to share their ideas of the bold action needed to make progress. During the breaks, visual and musical artists will bring a different perspective, joining our hearts to our minds. After the conference, we will celebrate 30 years of ocean activism with a cocktail, buffet dinner, artistic animations and NGO speed-pitching sessions.

Ocean Action! takes place in the context of Ocean Week, from 3-7 February. During Ocean Week, civil society organisations will organise a series of events in Brussels to raise awareness of the need to care for our seas and ocean.

Join us. Together, we can move mountains – together, we can protect oceans!