The oceans near and far are in trouble. In the face of multiple stressors – from destructive fishing to climate change –  the oceans are struggling to recover, and it’s going to take action to protect them.

Our big blue backyard is home to countless marine species, acts as a giant carbon sink, and produces every second breath we take. It feeds a billion people around the world, and has already helped us avoid the worst of the climate crisis. Our future is inherently linked with the oceans’, so we better start treating them as if they matter.

Here are three ways New Zealand can do that.

Inspired to take action? Sign the open letter to the new Minister of Oceans & Fisheries, David Parker. Call on him to implement a strong ocean vision for Aotearoa. Together we can create the future we want to see.

Sign the open letter here.

Dear Minister David Parker,

Welcome to your new role as the Minister of Oceans and Fisheries. I’m pleased to see the ocean named in this portfolio for the very first time, and I look forward to seeing your plans for protecting the waters of Aotearoa.

I imagine a future where the ocean is thriving. Where endangered species have been brought back from the brink, and all families can catch a feed. A future where we can see hoiho penguins and māui dolphins playing in the waves, where underwater coral forests support all kinds of ocean life.

I know this vision is possible and within our reach. Minister, I know you want to protect the ocean too. But to make this vision a reality, we need you to act now. The solutions to deliver this vision already exist, all you’ve got to do is commit to positive change.

The seas at home and abroad are in trouble. Mounting pressures from industrial-scale fishing, pollution, and climate change are pushing unique species to the brink, and damaging the ocean’s ability to recover.

To protect the ocean for the future, we need to reduce the pressures on it by tackling those we can control. One of those pressures is the way we fish.

There’s a very real risk that large ocean fish will be wiped out by 2050, thanks to industrial fishing. Imagine if the next generation of Kiwi kids didn’t get to experience fish and chips on the beach because we didn’t act soon enough?

Here in Aotearoa New Zealand, we’re blessed with hundreds of kilometres of breathtaking coastline, and going for a swim, a surf, or a sail is a way of life. But the ocean is more than just a playground – it’s our life support system. Half the oxygen we breathe comes from the ocean. Hundreds of millions of people globally rely on the ocean as their food basket, and healthy seas stabilise our climate.

I call on you and the New Zealand Government to commit to protecting the ocean for all New Zealanders. Here’s what we need you to do:

– Ban bottom trawling on seamounts, so we can protect the vital habitats that support marine life all the way up the food chain – from corals to whales.

– Get cameras on 100% of the commercial fishing fleet, so we can ensure native species don’t die by the dozen, and prevent thousands of tonnes of fish from being wasted.

– Support the strongest Global Ocean Treaty at the UN, one that has the ability to put a third of the world’s oceans into no-take sanctuaries.

Scientists tell us we can still turn things around for our big blue backyard. We can protect the ocean from the greatest threats it faces, and ensure it’s restored and safeguarded for us, our kids, and all the generations that follow.

As the biggest ecosystem on our planet, we can no longer afford to neglect the ocean.  The last Labour-led New Zealand Government showed strong leadership on important moral issues, and now it’s time to do that again.

Minister Parker we want New Zealand to be leaders on ocean issues on the world stage. We want you to listen to the science, and take action now to ensure a thriving ocean well into the future.

We must act now if we want to mitigate climate change, protect marine life and continue to feed communities, here and abroad. I hope that with tens of thousands of New Zealanders behind you, you can commit to this ocean vision that we all want to see become reality.

Sign the open letter.

ocean protection in New Zealand
Open Letter for Oceans Protection

Imagine a future where the ocean thrives. Where endangered species have been brought back from the brink, and families can catch a feed.

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