Ocean expert presses home need for urgent steps to protect our seas

A British ocean policy expert is to press home the need for urgent action to protect the world’s ocean when he addresses a major European environmental event today.

Professor Steve Fletcher, Ocean Lead of the United Nations International Resource Panel and Director of the University of Portsmouth’s sustainability and the environment research group, is to give a ‘wake-up’ keynote speech in Brussels.

He was invited to speak at the event to launch the ‘Blue Manifesto’, which aims to bring together ocean policy experts and more than 100 environmental organisations, to find ways of planning for healthier oceans by 2030.

Professor Fletcher said: “If we are to adequately respond to the global climate and nature crisis, we need to change how we use ocean resources.  For example, our need for phones, laptops and tablets that rely on rare metals is driving seabed mining while our reliance on plentiful disposable products is generating an ocean polluted by plastic. Although unintended, these outcomes demonstrate that changing our production and consumption patterns is central to achieving a sustainable ocean.”

The Blue Manifesto event lays out a timeline of actions which to turn the tide on degraded and polluted seas and coastlines worldwide.

Our need for phones, laptops and tablets that rely on rare metals is driving seabed mining while our reliance on plentiful disposable products is generating an ocean polluted by plastic.

Professor Steve Fletcher , Professor of Ocean Policy

Among its landmark challenges are:

  • For at least 30 per cent of the ocean to be highly or fully protected by 2030;
  • A shift to low-impact fishing;
  • Securing a pollution-free ocean;
  • And planning human activities to support the restoration of thriving marine ecosystems.

Professor Fletcher leads the Portsmouth Climate Action Board which aims to make the city a world leader in responding to the climate change emergency.

Its members include Extinction Rebellion, Friends of the Earth, local organisations and businesses including the City Council, the Football Club, and the city’s port.

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