Greenpeace Delivers Emergency Oceans Rescue Plan In Advance of Biodiversity Convention

Roadmap to Global Network of Marine Reserves Shows How to Restore Oceans to Health

Press release - October 4, 2010
Amsterdam, 4 October 2010 – As governments prepare for the meeting of Convention on Biological Diversity(1) later this month in Japan, Greenpeace is releasing its “Emergency Oceans Rescue Plan,” a roadmap for policy-makers to create a global network of marine reserves to cover 40% of the world’s oceans necessary move to save our oceans.

The rescue plan also comes on the same day that the Consortium for Ocean Leadership’s ten-year “census of marine life” concludes - revealing a staggering amount of previously undiscovered life beneath the ocean surface. Scientific advice(2) shows that large-scale ocean protection is vital  to maintain living oceans, ensure healthy fisheries, help alleviate climate impacts and sustain life on Earth for future generations.

“If we want our oceans to thrive and to continue to support human and animal life, then we need marine reserves now,” said Richard Page, Greenpeace International oceans campaigner. “The upcoming Convention on Biological Diversity meeting offers leaders a chance to honour their UN commitments to save our seas from decades of overfishing and other oceans destruction. In order to save the oceans which cover 70% of our planet, leaders at the CBD need a solid plan and strong political will which along with the emergency ocean rescue plan Greenpeace provided is all they need to restore the health of our oceans.”

Last month, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told politicians gathered in New York that a “rescue package similar to that introduced after the global financial crisis is urgently needed to halt the worldwide loss of biodiversity, which is resulting in a heavy human cost.”(3) Greenpeace’s Emergency Oceans Rescue Plan is just such a package, providing a roadmap to establish a global network of marine reserves - areas off-limits to fishing, fossil fuel extraction and other industrial activities.

The report focuses on a number of priority areas that Greenpeace is actively campaigning on to be set aside as marine reserves, in both international and domestic waters. These areas are the over-exploited Mediterranean, the Pacific with its dwindling tuna populations and the delicate and pristine Arctic and Antarctic.

Marine reserves are the single most powerful way available for marine conservation, restoring marine biodiversity and bringing multiple benefits to fisheries, alleviating food insecurity and poverty and building the resilience of our oceans to the impacts of climate change.

More than 90% of the world’s large fish, such as tuna, swordfish and marlin have been fished out (4). If the millions of people dependent fishing food and jobs are going to survive, we need to halt the massive loss of marine biodiversity that is happening at such an alarming rate,” added Nathalie Rey, Greenpeace International Oceans Policy Advisor. “This CBD meeting in Nagoya is an opportunity for governments to agree a plan to put the world on track to protecting life on earth. For oceans, this means taking action now to achieve the UN goal of a global network of marine protected areas and marine reserves by 2012. This is their chance to leave a legacy of oceans protection to future generations - with this Emergency Rescue Plan, governments can take the steps necessary to rise to the challenge.”

To download the full report and executive summary, visit:


Notes to Editors:

1.    The Convention on Biological Diversity is an international convention under the UN system. Its 10th Conference of the Parties is taking place 18-29 October 2010 in Nagoya, Japan.

2.    Fiona Gell and Callum Roberts, “Benefits Beyond Boundaries: the Fishery Effects of Marine Reserves (2003),”

3.    Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Remarks at the High-Level Event on Biodiversity (22 September 2010):

4.     R. A Myers and B. Worm. 2003. Rapid Worldwide Depletion of Predatory Fish Communities. Nature 423:280-283.