Today, the oceans are highly jeopardised because of mankind’s negative impact adversely affecting the entire marine ecosystem. One third of the Earth’s fish stock is overfished, 61% has been harvested to the limit.
As more and more carbon dioxide (caused by human emissions) is absorbed into the oceans, the pH-level of the sea water is lowered. This leads to the acidification of the seas with fatal consequences for corals, fishes and other marine creatures. A new threat arises from deep-sea mining which shall be pursued on a grand scale from 2016 in order to access the reserves of raw materials in the ocean bed, too. Tanker accidents, plastic and other waste products of civilisation, industrial waste and other kinds of pollution all play their part in bringing the marine ecosystem to the brink of destruction. For the oceans to be able to regenerate, it is imperative to establish marine reserves internationally.
Already in 2008 the positive effects of marine reserves were shown by research from Australian marine biologists. They proved that in protected areas with a fishing ban around the Great Barrier Reef the populations of different fish species grew about 31 to 75 percent within only two years.
We are convinced that about one third of the oceans worldwide must be protected for at least 10 years and under strong international supervision in order that fauna and flora can regenerate and that the natural equilibrium of the whole marine ecosystem can be restored. During these first ten years any kind of commercial activity within the marine reserves should be totally prohibited. Additionally, an international control system should be created under the protection of the UN with severe sanctions in the case of a violation of the decreed laws.
On the basis of the highest level of protection in open sea marine reserves, specific activities could be admitted in certain zones along the coast such as the rights of passage, swimming or guided visits for educational purposes. It makes sense to involve the local community for such projects, because their support is indispensable for the successful establishment of marine reserves.
The oceans are the greatest water reservoir of the Earth and the fish of the oceans are the main source of nourishment for one billion people. However, the oceans today are far from being intact and clean. They and all the life within them are in great distress. On a daily basis we are poisoning this unique world more and more with stuff from our everyday lives that we no longer want, use excessively or use without thinking about the consequences. Are we even aware of this? We need the oceans and the oceans need us!