SPONSORED CONTENT -- (StatePoint) A new report has found that expanded industrial fishing, ocean warming, acidification and pollution are having severe impacts on the health of the oceans and, in turn, the health of the planet. Oceans regulate our climate, and make life possible for humanity on this planet.
The Greenpeace International report, “30x30: From Global Ocean Treaty to Protection at Sea,” presents a new global analysis of the threats facing oceans and argues for urgent intervention, setting out a political roadmap to meet the United Nations’ goal of protecting 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030 under the new UN Ocean Treaty.
The launch of the report is just the beginning of a years-long campaign where Greenpeace ships will conduct research around the world. This research will inform a science-based approach to the call on leaders to ratify the Treaty and protect the world’s oceans. The Treaty, which advocates say is one of the most important international conservation agreements in history and the first focused on conserving marine life on the high seas, opens for signing on September 20 at the United Nations General Assembly.
“This report shows that the threats to marine life pervade nearly every corner of the world's oceans and makes it clear that immediate action is needed to stem the rising tide of destruction,” says Arlo Hemphill, Greenpeace USA’s senior ocean campaigner.
Here are some of the report’s key findings:
• Ocean temperature levels broke records in 2023. Heating, coupled with acidification and deoxygenation, is changing the chemistry of the oceans. This has wide-reaching impacts on ocean ecosystems and biodiversity and disrupts the vital role oceans play in regulating Earth’s temperature and climate.
• Using data from Global Fishing Watch, Greenpeace International investigators estimated that high seas fishing hours in areas scientists have recommended for protection increased by a staggering 22.5% between 2018 and 2022. What’s more, much of the most common fishing gear is destructive, hooking anything in its path and putting many additional species at risk.
• Pollution, including plastics, continues to worsen. This is having devastating impacts on marine life and ecosystems. Shipping leads to chronic oil and noise pollution on the high seas, and there is always a risk of accidents and spills.
• Emerging risks threaten ocean health. For example, deep sea mining, an industry that is still in the experimental phase, is particularly harmful to critical and fragile deep sea ecosystems. While many governments support a global ban or a moratorium on deep sea mining, many more still need to take action to stop the launch of this destructive industry.
• Fully or highly protected ocean sanctuaries, which provide a safe haven for marine life to recover and thrive, are a proven solution to the ocean crisis. Currently, less than 1% of the high seas are adequately protected. Three sites are presented as case studies for protection under the Global Ocean Treaty: the Sargasso Sea, Emperor Seamounts and South Tasman Sea/Lord Howe Rise, all of which are critically important in terms of biodiversity and their vulnerability to the impacts of climate change and industrial fishing.
To learn more or to read the report, visit, greenpeace.org/international/publication. To view an interactive map that sets out the human pressures on the high seas, areas recommended for protection, and tracks the UN Ocean Treaty ratification status of all nations, visit greenpeace.org/maps.
“Every year of delay, stacking pressures on the oceans grow. Consequences worsen for marine ecosystems, and the billions of people who rely on healthy oceans for their food, livelihoods and a livable planet,” says Hemphill. “By signing, ratifying and implementing the Ocean Treaty, global leaders can usher in a new era of ocean health.”
Photo Credit: (c) Paul Hilton / Greenpeace