Human activity has taken a serious toll on oceans over the last century. Overfishing has depleted fish stocks—the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that approximately 57 percent of fish stocks are fully exploited and another 30 percent are over-exploited, depleted or recovering. Nutrient runoff and pollution from sources on land have created oxygen-starved dead zones that are inhospitable to most forms of marine life. Climate change is driving up ocean temperatures and leading to ocean acidification.
Declining ocean health jeopardizes the well-being and livelihoods of coastal communities around the globe—as well as hundreds of millions of jobs that rely on ocean-related industries like tourism, fishing, shipping and biotechnology.
So what can be done to turn the tide?
A new report from a panel of global experts convened by the World Bank to guide the Global Partnership for Oceans, lays out a way forward for aligning ocean health with human well-being.
Coming together to make an ocean of difference
The Blue Ribbon Panel of experts from 16 countries represents a vast array of ocean interests with representation from government, the private sector, civil society organizations, science, economics and multi-lateral institutions.
“Getting to healthy oceans is a global challenge that needs the concentrated effort of big and small business, government and science,” said Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Blue Ribbon Panel chair and director of the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland. “Though they brought very different world views, everyone on this panel agreed that we can’t keep going with business-as-usual and all parts of society must be part of the solution.”
Among many others, the diverse panel includes seafood industry leader Chris Lischewski, president and CEO of Bumble Bee Foods; oceanographer Sylvia Earle; fisheries economist Ragnar Arnason; and Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum Tuiloma Neroni Slade.