EcoLogical  

We are all ocean shareholders

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2015 may be remembered as the year of climate, but the ocean came a close second. After being used, abused and taken for granted, I am relieved to see signs that we are finally taking notice of the ocean. However, from the vantage of a boardroom or house of parliament, too often the ocean is still “out of sight, out of mind.” Through neglect and mismanagement, we are putting at risk the extraordinary resource that covers 70 per cent of the planet and makes Earth a living planet.

The blame lies at our feet

We dump plastic and toxic chemicals into the ocean, ultimately poisoning our food. We catch fish wastefully and unsustainably; 90 per cent of the world’s fish stocks are overfished or fished to capacity and for one kilogram of seafood served on your table, up to 10 kilograms of sea creatures are thrown back into the sea. We have lost 50 per cent of the world’s coral reefs in the last 30 years and carbon emissions since the last industrial revolution have acidified the ocean faster than in any period in the past 65 million years. In a generation, the world has lost nearly half of its marine species populations.

Empty coral reef in Sabah, Malaysia. © Jürgen Freund / WWFEmpty coral reef in Sabah, Malaysia. © Jürgen Freund / WWF

For all these reasons, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the theme of this year’s World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, will need to pay particular attention to the ocean. This era is defined by the convergence of the physical and digital worlds that will fundamentally alter the way we produce, consume and relate to one another.

We are already seeing how technology can transform the ocean from vast and far away, to understood, measured, monitored and, hopefully, well managed. WWF and our partners have launched platforms that enable you to see what industrial fishing vessels are doing at the click of button. At the climate talks in Paris, we enabled people all over the world to use virtual reality apps to see reefs turning white and dying as the planet endures a mass coral bleaching event from heated seas. We have worked with industry to establish systems of certification and traceability for seafood so consumers can be assured of its origin, legality and sustainability. These are just early examples of new, powerful technologies that allow anyone with a mobile device to bear witness to what’s going on under the water and in supply chains.

Industrial fishing of orange roughy, a deep-water species. © AFMAIndustrial fishing of orange roughy, a deep-water species. © AFMA

Of course, it’s going to take more than new technology to restore the ocean’s health. It’s going to take a fundamental shift in mindset. For too long, we have treated nature as if it exists only to serve humanity, and indeed has an unlimited capacity to do so. Now we are starting to recognize how healthy ecosystems underpin all economic enterprises.

An economic powerhouse

To support and accelerate that shift in mindset, WWF worked with BCG to put a value on the ocean economy, confirming the ocean is an economic powerhouse generating at least US$2.5 trillion annually. We call it Gross Marine Product, the sum of goods and services comparable to a nation’s GDP. If the ocean were a country, this output would make it the world’s seventh biggest economy.

Too big to fail, we could say. The ocean provides considerable capital for industries from fishing to tourism, supporting millions of jobs worldwide. Hundreds of millions of people, often in poor coastal communities, depend on the sea for food and income. For the much of the world, a healthy, productive ocean is a matter of survival, health and security.

But the facts above show the ocean is in trouble and trending into the red, so I am alarmed when I hear talk about it as the new frontier, lending itself to a new wave of exploitation. The evidence does not support that view. It is clear that the ocean is already heavily and often unsustainably exploited.

The world is running down ocean assets in a way no responsible business would allow, and an investor would be right to ask some hard questions about these balance sheets. Each of us is, in fact, an ocean shareholder. We share dividends such as a stable climate, and if we’d like to continue to do so, we must insist on a better management plan.

Dense school of brown striped snapper, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. ©naturepl.com / David Fleetham / WWFDense school of brown striped snapper, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. ©naturepl.com / David Fleetham / WWF

The inclusion of the ocean in the UN sustainable development agenda and its mention in the Paris climate agreement are hopeful signs that we are building the foundation of such a plan. One of the most effective solutions for restoring ocean health is to create protected areas. When we take the pressure off habitats, and reduce fishing and other impacts, ocean ecosystems can bounce back. Economic analysis has also shown substantial return on investment for expanding protected areas. With less than 5 per cent of the ocean currently protected, this is a strategy with incredible growth potential!

Now is the time to scale up protection of the ocean’s most important places and secure its productive capacity so we can sustain the ocean economy and feed a hungry world.

Marco Lambertini is Director General of WWF International.

©WWF©WWF

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  • Denisse Illeana Gonzales

    not because nobody owns the sea or ocean, we already have the right to destroy and abuse it. just like what i’ve read on your blog, nobody is allowed to abuse water bodies. we are free to get resources from it so we should do what is right to take care of those. you should’t use dynamites or anything that will cause it to be destroyed. we should take care of it so it will produce more fishes and other water resources and for fishes to have more diversities. in that way, many people or fishermen will benefit from it if we knew how to appreciate and take care of our environment

  • Kristine Cruz

    We all know that the seas, ocean and other resources helps us in our daily life. In that case, we should take care of our natural resources, not just the seas. in this blog it destroying the seas are prohibited. Using dynamites and other explosive things that we can use for fishing can destroy the water resources. Fisherman will benefit if we continue protecting our seas, not just the fisherman but all of us.

  • Thrixie Lisondra

    As you have said in your blog, technology can transform oceans and seas from vast and far away. Truly, it can. As I can see today’s generation, the world already lost its path. We overused our natural resources, not knowing the consequences. We are not aware what we are doing right now. We only care for ourselves, not for sea creatures. We only think what’s good for us, not for them. We only seek for our own benefits. People are really selfish and abusive. If people know how to appreciate sea creatures, both of us will take a big advantage. Just imagine things clearly.

  • Angelica Lopez

    It is going through a phase with a peak in a working population. It has the mineral resources and land availability that competitors such as India and Japan don’t have. The fundamentals look quite good and all it required was them to take the hands off the “self-destruct” button they had been pressing for 150 years. the oceans and other saltwater environments such as estuaries and wetlands. All plant and animal life forms are included from the microscopic picoplankton all the way to the majestic blue whale, the largest creature in the sea and for that matter in the world.

  • Earl Brix Sanchez Mendoza

    We call ourselves an ocean “shareholders”. We make business, invest goods. It is not bad to make used of it, but destructing the real nature is somewhat comparing to a killer. We definitely killing sea creatures, we are overusing them and somewhat murdering them slowly in our hands. We must protect them and take care of it. It was our duty.

  • Kate Aton

    Oceans and other marine resources are very important to us. We don’t just get food from it, but also, this is where others get their source of income. But the problem is, we all take it for granted as if it’s nothing. We’re abusing the beauty and creation of God. I agree with you and your idea of using technology to restore the ocean’s health again. I think, today’s generation must know how to use technologies, gadgets and other modern apps, more productive. In a way that will save the world, for a better future of the next generation. When will you start to care? when the oceans are dry? when sea creatures are all poisoned? think of it. It’s not about me, not about the sea, but all about YOU.

  • Janica Lozada

    Like you, I am passionate about protecting the natural world, about saving wildlife and wild places, and about creating a sustainable future. We need science to do that,to understand how nature works and how our actions affect the natural world, to evaluate the outcomes of our actions so that our results match our intentions, and to develop and test innovative ways to make conservation happen bigger, better, faster. thank you for sharing this to us, showing the value of our nature.

  • Imman Gutierrez

    Fish, corals, ocean and other kind of water form and water resources. All of this are so important for us human beings it is also for our daily lives. I agree to this blog because almost all of us overused the fish, corals, and we are destroying them bit by bit. I agree using techologies for good use, fixing and protecting endangered marine species and corals. We can use this as to invest or anything we want just don’t overused it. That’s why we are all called ocean shareholders. What we do now we will harvest later. So do the right thing for the good of the people and for you and for the earth

  • Lenie Anne Perez

    I agree with this blog. We’ve been taking nature for granted for as long as I remember. The world is changing and our population is growing. Naturally, we need more resources, thus our ecosystem is put in a state of overuse. It is not wrong to use nature for our survival, but we need to know our limits. I look forward to the progress of your plan, and hope that it’ll be successful in saving the ocean and our economy.

  • Leodict Vandale Cinco

    The ocean is regarded as a sort of bargain basement. People don’t realize that water in the liquid state is very rare in the universe, away from the earth it is usually a gas. This moisture is a blessed treasure and it is our own basic duty, if we dont want to commit suicide to preserve it. We have to take care of it like what this blog is talking about. We are abusing the ocean, we have to save the ocean. I agree with using new gen. technologies to help in conserving it if we still not making any actions and continue abusing it maybe someday even in the deepest part of the ocean, all the fishes are already died because of the pollution.

  • LJ Yaun

    70% of our world is made up of water. I agree that it’s who should be blamed why the bodies of water are not in good condition. We throw different types of garbage, we use chemicals to kill fish and we eat those fishes. Thanks on today’s advance technology, we can monitor and study more about it’s importance in our daily lives.

  • April Joyce Mendoza

    Truly, we used, abused and taking nature for granted. As what I have read about your blog, technology can change ocean. For good purposes, it keeps ocean clean because of the advance technology we invented. We can monitor it daily. But technology can also destruct our water habitat.

  • Carla Nicolas

    i agree with this blog although humans can’t live underwater, so we tend to overlook the fact that most life on this planet exists not on land but in the oceans but oceans provide most of the oxygen that humans breathe like plants, oceans absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen and most of the water we drink evaporation from oceans forms the clouds whose rain and snow fill rivers and aquifers. The oceans are too vast and mighty for humans to kill, but we have proven ourselves quite capable of poisoning, overfishing and heating them to a perilous degree. The question is not whether oceans can survive what humans are doing to them but whether humans can. We are free to get resources from the ocean. In fact, evidence of humans can be found all over the oceans, even in the most remote polar areas, in the form of floating trash. Humans have a lot of ‘waste’ that is often disposed of in the ocean – trash, sewage, oil, chemicals, heat, and even ‘noise’ to name a few. As the human population increases on Earth these sources of pollution increase.

  • Alliah San Pedro

    I agree with this blog. It’s true that we are the ocean shareholders because we can save the ocean by ourselves. It’s true that people can damage the ocean real bad like dump plastic and toxic chemicals into the ocean, ultimately poisoning our food. Because of this blog I learned that we should take care of our ocean not only because we need to but we care. I learned that we should take care of the ocean because it provides us food, medicine and ocean provides considerable capital for industries from fishing to tourism, supporting millions of jobs worldwide that’s why we should take care of it but the other where taking advantage of that.

  • Martinarnold Moran

    i agree with this blog.In routine or in real time, on a global or regional scale, both on the surface and beneath it, Mercator Ocean describes, analyses and forecasts the state of the ocean by developing the “Mercator System” for ocean analysis and forecasting and maintaining it in an operational condition.

    Mercator Ocean is a privately-owned non-profit company. It provides a service of general interest to France and Europe as a whole. The organisation was founded and is funded by the five major French institutions involved in operational oceanography: CNRS, Ifremer, IRD, Météo-France and SHOM.

  • Emman Landrito

    Our nature was terribly abused by the humans particulary the oceans, But i have read about your blog is technology can change the ocean but the technology can also cause a damage to the oceans

  • Emman Landrito

    Our nature was terribly abused by the humans particulary the oceans, But i what have read about your blog is technology can change the ocean but the technology can also cause a damage to the oceans

  • Eugenio Argana

    We are the protector but other people abuse water bodies like fish corals and others. commercial fishing has been collapsing oceanic ecosystems worldwide. Many people throw different types of garbage. Other people protect ocean but many people abusing it. We must protect them and take care of it because according to article 70% of our world is made up of water. We need more fish for the future because out population continue to grow.

  • Likha Alfonso Aguinaldo Baling

    This shows that our nature is not unlimited. We should conserve and save the last things here on earth. Because the next generation may suffer the wrong doings of us. As an adolescent we can do more than when we are a child. By just simply throwing the trash in the right bin. In conserving energy. We can do all many things

  • Jason Garcia

    Ocean is very important for us. It is the source of life, we need to protect it, not to abuse it. Because ocean like the other resources in our world, ocean is one of the biggest, with it we can have our food to eat and water to drink.

  • Jemuel marcelo

    Our nature is important because god give this to people to take care are nature and to protect nature and ocean to make nature perfect to god and to prevent the damage of are nature.and to our people who damage the nature real bad like dump plastic and toxic chemicals into the ocean. thank you and ilove you ocean.

  • Ralph Lauren D. Carena

    I love environment. Do you love it too? Vote duterte for president.

  • Ralph Lauren D. Carena

    This shows that our nature specially our ocean is on danger. Many people dump plastics, toxic and other chemical in our ocean that can cause damage on it. I suggest that we should be more careful on our nature because it is limited. Although there are too many water forms in our world but it is better to take care of all of it so other generations can use it. And government should have enough programs that promote on the protection of the oceans.

  • Alliah Hilapo

    There is no question that our ocean’s richness is deteriorating rapidly. And as we are so-called “shareholders” of the ocean, it is our duty and responsibility to take care of it. It provides us livelihood and tools for survival but we must keep in mind that it is not unconditional. There are certain consequences of what we do not only in our ocean alone but also on the every corner of our environment. We may think that just throwing our trash anywhere is just a small addition to the factors that will affect the ocean, but just think about how many we are in this planet and we’re doing it like we have another place to go and that the other lives of the innocent animals don’t matter. We are taking the ocean for granted, and I couldn’t agree more about what Gandhi said, “The Earth provide enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed.” Our ocean has done a great job to make us survive, maybe it’s time to do the same to it.

  • Ian Ramos

    The ocean is now on danger because of toxic and other chemicals. Many fish are dying because of water pollution. We need to protect this God’s Creation because we can get some foods here. We can protect our world by stopping the pollutions. We need to stop the dynamite fishing because of this many little fish are involved and dying because of this method of illegal fishing. We need to encourage everyone to take care this wonderful creation.

  • Kim Precious

    i think not all the time, we are the reason why the ocean is being in danger or in bad suituation. beacause sometimes, the fish is the one who are the reason why the ocean are eing in danger.There are certain consequences of what we do not only in our ocean alone but also on the every corner of our environment. We may think that just throwing our trash anywhere is just a small addition to the factors that will affect the ocean, but just think about how many we are in this planet and we’re doing it like we have another place to go and that the other lives of the innocent animals don’t matter.

  • Gem Elaine Medina

    I agree on this blog. Because the oceans are the largest ecosystems on Earth, they are the Earth’s largest life support systems. We are called the shareholder of the ocean so it is our duty to protect the ocean. it is very important and we should do thing that can protect it because when the time comes that the ocean become polluted it may also affect us. I learned that we should protect ocean because we get different sources from it and it is very important for us people

  • Aleistair C Villarin

    A healthy environment is necessary for human and animal life to survive. Drinkable water, breathable air, and edible food are some of the resources that are necessary for life to continue. Yet at the same time, people cannot maintain a desirable standard of living without the consumption of natural resources, which causes damage to the environment. In addition, using natural resources reduces their availability, which can lead to shortages of building and manufacturing materials, food, and water. Human activity that is harmful to the environment can cause public health crises, render areas uninhabitable, and otherwise reduce standards of living on a societal or global scale. When people protect the environment, they are protecting themselves and their future as well.

  • David Angelo Ong Hernandez

    i agree on the blog statement. we should protect our environment of protecting our ocean body. base on the blog it is says that we people are like the share holder of the ocean. because of this we should learn how to protect our ocean because it is very important to us. we should think of things that will not harm our ocean bodies. it is very important to us because we also get our daily needs in water and i learn that i should protect it.

  • Anjo Ocampo

    It is important to protect our nature so that we can preserve it for the future generation. Protecting nature keeps the Eco-systems in balance. If we continue to protect our environment we will be able to prevent global warming which causes landslides, floods , etc. Because nature is our provider of oxygen, food, water and shelter. We should avoid cutting trees and be responsible in throwing garbages. We should not use artificial fertilizers or pesticides because it will contaminate are habitat. We should reduce our energy consumption at home, at work and on the road by practicing habits like walking, bike riding, using public transport and buying energy efficient appliances.

  • kenneth hernandez

    This shows that our nature specially our ocean is on danger. Many people dump plastics, Our nature is important because god give this to people to take care are nature and to protect nature and ocean to make nature perfect to god and to prevent the damage of are nature. Protecting nature keeps the Eco-systems in balance. If we continue to protect our environment we will be able to prevent global warming which causes landslides, floods , etc. Because nature is our provider of oxygen, food, water and shelter.