March 22, 2023

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The oceans saved us, and now it is our turn

Many experts are warning ahead of a major UN conference starting Monday in Lisbon, in the hope that humanity will heal the seas plagued by climate change, pollution and overfishing, save marine life and save our own.

Decades later, thanks to the oceans absorbing a quarter of the CO2 pollution and more than 90% of the heat at high temperatures – the Earth’s surface is still alive.

In return, our species dumped plastic mountains into the sea and emptied its large fish. The coastline is polluted by chemicals and agricultural products, creating oxygen-free dead zones.

“At least a third of wild fish are overfished and less than 10% of the oceans are protected,” Katherine Matthews, science director for the American charity Oceania, told AFP.

“Illegal fishing vessels are causing indiscriminate destruction in coastal waters and high seas,” he said.

Subsidies promoting over-fishing, worth about $ 35 billion, will certainly be heavily criticized in Lisbon.

But in the meantime, marine acidification caused by CO2 and ocean heat waves continues to destroy coral reefs, which last for months and depend on a quarter of marine life and 250 million people.

“We still have little idea of ​​the magnitude of the catastrophe caused by climate change on the health of the oceans,” said Charlotte de Fondebert, the World Bank’s leading blue economist.

– “I’m afraid” –

Organized jointly by Portugal and Kenya, the UN Conference on the Oceans – originally scheduled for April 2020 and later postponed due to the Govt.

Although not all of them recommend the same solutions, they often acknowledge the risks.

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“If we do not do the right thing, we run the risk of ending up in the Dead Sea,” Rashid Shumila, a fisheries expert and professor at the University of British Columbia, told AFP.

“Imagine how scary that is! “, He believes.

With plans ranging from recycling to a complete ban on plastic bags, this type of pollution will be on the conference agenda, with the goal of changing the current trends by 2050 by the size of fish in the oceans.

The question of how to stabilize fishing, from Asian industrial vessels and artisan fishing boats plying the seas to tropical beaches, will also spark discussions in Lisbon.

According to the new LeadModif, “blue food” will transform the oceans into a means of livelihood that will be sustainable and equal.

“Wild fish from the oceans are a source of protein and micronutrients that can provide one billion people a day with a healthy diet forever,” said Katherine Mathews of NGO Oceania.

The growing fisheries sector is concerned about the destruction of valuable mangrove forests or the overuse of antibiotics.

– Year End Max –

The conference makes it possible to establish that open sea fishing production, which has been declining since the 1990s, is on track to be overtaken by aquaculture, with approximately 100 million tons per year from each channel.

The Lisbon meeting will be attended by several ministers and some heads of state, including French President Emmanuel Macron, but it is not intended to be a formal negotiating session.

However, some participants will have the opportunity to defend an ambitious policy for the oceans, considering two important summits to be held later this year: the UN Climate Conference COP27, which will take place in Egypt in November. The United Nations’ long-awaited conference on biodiversity COP15 will finally take place in Canada and no longer in China.

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The Coalition of Nearly One Hundred Countries recommends a major move to declare protected areas covering 30% of the planet’s oceans and land.

Because recent scientific studies have come to a clear conclusion: the oceans will continue to suffer until the greenhouse gas emissions are reduced, and the fight against global warming could fail if the oceans lose their ability to absorb CO2.