At least somebody is celebrating World Oceans Day.
What's that? You don't celebrate World Oceans Day? Dear friends,
the ocean gave us life. Not celebrating World Oceans Day is as bad
as missing Mothers' Day, Fathers' Day, and Earth Day combined.
In fact, there aren't many days dedicated to taking action to
save one of our planet's life support systems. Millions of people
depend on the oceans for their livelihood, their food, or both.
It's estimated that the oceans absorb 30-50 percent of the carbon
dioxide our fossil-fueled civilization emits. The oceans produce
half of the oxygen we breathe. Quite literally, if the oceans die,
our planet dies.
So how do we treat this living, breathing set of planetary
lungs? We poison it with oil and toxic effluents. We use
destructive fishing methods to scrape the sea-floor clean of
centuries-old coral and other living things in search of a few
premium species. We kill whales in the name of fake science. We
strip the fins from sharks. We send more and more boats out chasing
fewer and fewer fish. We build super-destructive fishing vessles
with the capacity to remove thousands of tonnes in a single trip --
more fish than entire countries can fish out in an entire year.
And we ignore the warnings of scientists when they recommend we cut
back on fishing for bluefin, yellowfin, and bigeye tuna.
Not the sort of situation you can address like Secretary's day,
with a bunch of flowers and a card to say how much we appreciate
all the oceans do for us and we're sorry for all the aggro.
From the sky
What's needed is action. And that's what we're
demanding. A network of marine reserves protecting 40 percent of
our world's oceans. Thanks to Google Earth's Outreach programme, Greenpeace
is marking World Oceans Day by introducing information about marine
reserves into the Global Awareness layer that comes bundled with
every copy of Google Earth. You can see the layer in Google Earth
by clicking on the "Global Awareness" link, or you can see the
here in a Google Map.
Our more detailed
map of reserves to save the Mediterranean is also available as
a Google Map.
In the Pacific
Over the last two months, the Greenpeace ship Esperanza has been
highlighting the overfishing of bigeye and yellowfin tuna and
defending the international waters between the Pacific island
countries as no-take marine reserves.
During their time at sea, the activists have taken peaceful
direct action against fishing fleets from Taiwan, Korea, Spain, the
US and the Philippines. And they're getting results. Nine Pacific
island states have declared their support for the Greenpeace plan,
and introduced a form of local licensing enforcement: if you want
to fish their national waters, you have to agree to leave those
high seas areas alone. That's a big step toward declaring the
Pacific Commons, as we call them, the first high seas marine
reserves in the world.
Greenpeace in Suva celebrated by announcing the winners of our naming competition for the
three areas collectively known as the Pacific Commons. (Drum
roll....) And the winners are... WOMAR, which stands for West
Oceania Marine Reserve, the area of international waters bounded by
Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Federated States of Micronesia and
Palau. GOMAR for the Greater Oceania Marine Reserve, the area of
international waters bounded by Papua New Guniea, the Solomon
Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, the Marshall
Islands, Fiji, Tuvalu and Vanuatu. And MOMAR for the Moana Marine
Reserve bounded by Kiribati, the Cook Islands and French Polynesia.
Eight people take away the prize for their creative contribution to
the naming competition and for suggesting that the sea snake,
seahorse and sea turtle serve as emblems for these marine reserves.
The winners are Sara Tripp, Ravi Ram, Shaniel Sen, Jejay Sen,
Rupeni Diani, Saad Hussein, Mereoni Kanavo and Josivini
In May, 80 activists from 15 countries shut down five tuna
suppliers at the Brussels Seafood Expo, demanding that suppliers
and retailers take steps to ensure that the fish they sell comes
from legal and sustainable sources. More and more fish purchasers
are responding to our call for better labelling so consumers are
not making uninformed choices, traceability so retailers know the
fish they buy was caught legally and fairly, and for retailers to
agree not to buy or sell species that are endangered or dangerously
depleted. And as the Pacific island countries move toward
protecting the Pacific Commons with marine reserves, we're asking
seafood retailers and suppliers to do their part -- by not buying
or selling tuna sourced from the Pacific Commons.
In the Mediterraanean
Meanwhile, the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise is
in the Mediterranean tackling the critical overfishing of
northern bluefin tuna. Unsustainable management and illegal
overfishing have brought this fishery to the brink of collapse.
Greenpeace is calling for a complete closure of the fishery until
proper management and enforcement are in place, including marine
reserves for the Mediterranean breeding areas of the bluefin tuna.
In Turkey, that call has led to confrontation as three tuna seiners
surrounded the Arctic Sunrise, the crew of one of them attacking
the ship with lead weights which disabled our onboard helicopter.
What we failed to impress upon them is a point made by Marine
Biologist Callum Roberts: "The fishing industry doesn´t realise
that Greenpeace is their best friend." And it's true. We're calling
for marine reserves today, to ensure the world has fish tomorrow.
And so that those who make their living from fish, like our Turkish
friends, have jobs in the future.
The oceans will be on our minds on Sunday. Spare a thought for
them yourself. Take a moment to join the call
for a worldwide network of marine reserves -- if you're not
decking the halls with strands of kelp, it's really the least you
could do for your former home, and the creatures who live there
Ask the United Nations to join the call to save our seas by declaring 40 percent of our world's oceans as marine reserves.
We give a voice to the planet. We rely on your donations to keep that voice loud and effective, and to keep our ships campaigning on the world's oceans.