On the eve of the European elections, Seas At Risk member, Surfrider Foundation Europe, is pleased to share the results of its recent consultation with European citizens, Voice for the Ocean!

This consultation ran from June 2018 to January 2019. It aimed to amplify citizens’ key messages on ocean protection by asking them to choose the topics they want to see prioritised by the EU institutions in the coming mandate to protect our ocean.

More than 40 partner organisations/networks across Europe actively supported the consultation and over 7,000 citizens from 21 Member States responded. Of the eight topics covered in the consultation (ocean literacy, climate change, oil extraction at sea, sustainable tourism, plastic pollution, maritime transport, marine renewable energy and water quality) three were identified as top priorities: microplastic pollution, offshore drilling and shipping.

For each topic, respondents were asked what they felt would be the most appropriate EU response, from market restrictions to information, labelling, research or awareness-raising campaigns.

Most respondents are calling on the EU to ban the intentional adding of microplastics to products (cosmetics, paints, detergents, etc). As far as offshore oil and gas platforms are concerned, respondents are asking the EU to keep the oil in the ground, foster energy transition, and place a moratorium on offshore platforms. Finally, with respect to shipping, respondents overwhelmingly support the idea of a label on products to promote sustainably shipped products.

Surfrider now beckons EU citizens to the polling booths, reminding them that the EU has a key role to play in protecting their seas and coastlines. It also asks the EU institutions to consider these citizens’ views on ocean protection in their coming mandate and place the ocean high on their agenda, accordingly.