How can we achieve ocean sustainability? – The answer lies in our commitment to sustainable aquaculture, stopping overfishing, and ending destructive fishing practices. In addition, we need to stop subsidizing illegal fishing and implement science-based management plans to restore fish stocks to maximum sustainable yields.
Sustainable aquaculture practices have been the focus of attention in recent years, particularly in developing countries. However, in contrast to agriculture, aquaculture represents a small fraction of the global food system, at 342 million tonnes in 2018 compared to the 2.7 billion tonnes of cereals and grains. And aquaculture includes not just fish but other species such as crustaceans, mollusks, echinoderms, and a wide range of seaweed. Some aquaculture methods include both freshwater and seawater farming. They can also be self-contained terrestrial aquaculture.
Sustainable aquaculture practices can help maintain ocean biodiversity by reducing fish farming’s impact on marine ecosystems.
The three strategies for ocean sustainability involve:
- Improving the resilience of marine ecosystems.
- Maintaining the structure of marine food webs.
- Preserving diverse aquatic habitats.
These strategies aim at reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and the first is ending overfishing. In the reports from NGO networks and Maxwell Waitt, it was found that while the fishing industry emits much less CO2 than other industries, stopping overfishing will sequester higher amounts of CO2.
The most successful solution to overfishing is to declare certain areas off limits to fishing. The law can also help restore a marine ecosystem by creating more reserves. However, convincing governments to restrict fishing entirely is a tougher sell. Nevertheless, there is a good chance that overfishing can be stopped if the law is implemented. In the end, stopping overfishing will ensure ocean sustainability.
Eliminating Subsidies For Unregulated Fishing
There is a clear link between unregulated and illegal fishing, but the latter is often overlooked. Subsidies to large industrial fleets account for an estimated 80% of harmful subsidies, while a smaller percentage is tied to small artisanal fisheries. However, removing subsidies to these fleets would not affect the sustainability of ocean ecosystems. Removing subsidies from IUU fishing would also support the transition to more sustainable seafood production.
As climate change has become a pressing issue for countries, governments, and companies alike, decarbonizing shipping is becoming a priority. The UN Global Compact, an initiative for corporate social responsibility, aims to ensure that shipping is zero emission and meets socioeconomic goals. The goal is to reduce the carbon footprint of shipping by 2050, and a strategy for equitable socioeconomic development must accompany zero fuel emissions.
Ships also release a variety of air and climate pollutants. These pollutants include particulate matter, which contributes to smog and other widespread health problems.
Educating People About The Ocean
While the number of adults enrolled in education programs about ocean sustainability is increasing, there is still a significant gap in the ocean literacy of our society. As a result, the vast majority of individuals are not aware of the impact of their decisions on the ocean, which hinders efforts to engage society in sustainable practices. To combat this challenge, we must develop effective programs to educate people about the importance of ocean sustainability. Ocean literacy aims to increase ocean awareness, encourage responsible behavior, and increase public understanding.