After 2010, when the Earth was as hot as any year in history and the USA suffered the world’s biggest accidental oil disaster, we all deserve some good news. Happily, the last year provided it.
No, the oceans haven’t yet recovered from overfishing, bottom trawling, acidification or pollution. Not yet. But we’re seeing heartening progress in saving marine ecosystems worldwide.
For the first time, scientists showed unquestionable evidence that planktonic larvae from marine protected areas add to fish populations in places far from them. Opponents of protecting our oceans can no longer rationally deny that marine protected areas work.
Pew Environment Group got Great Britain to create the world’s largest highly protected area around the Indian Ocean’s Chagos Archipelago.
Oceana persuaded Chile to establish the huge Moto Motiro Hiva Marine Park around Sala y Gómez island in the eastern Pacific.
Marine Conservation Biology Institute and others persuaded the United Nations to make Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in Hawaii a World Heritage Site. More protection for one of the best ocean places on Earth.
And President Barack Obama instituted the biggest ocean policy upgrade in US history. He ordered federal agencies to cooperate in planning future coastal and marine conservation and uses. Government working to recover our environment and economy! If his opponents in Congress don’t undo this, it will change everything.
We haven’t saved our oceans yet. But these vital steps toward recovering oceans of diversity and abundance, benefitting us and future generations, are reason to celebrate.
For the Oceans,
Elliott A. Norse
President, Marine Conservation Institute