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Can an Ocean Conference Help Protect the Ocean? Reviewing the results of the Our Ocean Conference in Athens, Greece

How To Protect The Ocean

Release Date: 04/26/2024

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Andrew Lewin discusses the highlights and concerning moments of the ninth Our Oceans Conference held in Athens, Greece. With 469 new commitments made to protect the ocean, totaling $11.3 billion raised, the conference showcased both progress and challenges. Despite the high number of commitments, the amount raised was lower compared to previous years. Join Andrew as he delves into the outcomes of the conference and explores how individuals can support ocean conservation efforts.

Link to article: https://news.mongabay.com/2024/04/annual-ocean-conference-raises-11-3b-in-pledges-for-marine-conservation/

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Our Oceans Conference in Athens, Greece

The recent Our Oceans Conference in Athens, Greece, was a significant milestone in global ocean conservation efforts. The conference witnessed the announcement of 469 new commitments aimed at protecting the ocean, demonstrating a strong global dedication to marine conservation. These commitments encompass a wide array of initiatives, including the establishment of marine protected areas, sustainable fisheries management, and addressing the impacts of climate change on the ocean.

A key highlight of the conference was the substantial funding raised for ocean protection. A total of $11.3 billion was pledged towards various ocean conservation projects, indicating a significant financial investment in safeguarding marine ecosystems. This funding will play a crucial role in supporting the implementation of the commitments made at the conference, ensuring tangible actions are taken to protect the ocean.

The commitments made at the Our Oceans Conference reflect a growing acknowledgment of the urgent need to address the threats facing the ocean. From banning harmful fishing practices like bottom trawling to supporting research on ocean and climate interactions, the commitments cover a wide range of issues crucial to ocean health. The conference also emphasized the importance of international collaboration in achieving meaningful progress in ocean conservation.

Moving forward, it is essential to ensure that the commitments made at the conference are effectively implemented and monitored. The positive success rate of previous commitments reaching their goals, as mentioned in the episode, provides optimism for the future of these initiatives. By building on the momentum generated at the conference and fostering strong partnerships between governments, organizations, and stakeholders, we can work towards a more sustainable and resilient ocean ecosystem.

Overall, the Our Oceans Conference in Athens, Greece, served as a platform for global leaders to unite and showcase their commitment to protecting the ocean. With 469 new commitments and $11.3 billion raised for ocean protection, the conference laid a strong foundation for advancing marine conservation efforts and ensuring a healthier future for our oceans.

One of the key takeaways from the podcast episode is the significant progress made at the Our Oceans Conference in terms of commitments and funding to protect the ocean. However, despite these advancements, there is still a long way to go to achieve the goal of protecting 30% of land and water by 2030. Currently, only 7.9% of the global ocean is protected, with only 4.2% being fully or highly protected, meaning no extractive activities are allowed within Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

The episode highlights the slow pace of progress in reaching the 30% protection target. The host country of the conference, Greece, still offers leases to oil and gas companies, indicating conflicting interests and challenges in transitioning away from harmful practices. Additionally, the exploration of deep-sea mining by countries like Norway, the Cook Islands, and Japan raises concerns about potential environmental impacts on the ocean ecosystem.

The episode emphasizes the need for increased momentum and accelerated efforts to achieve the 30% protection goal by 2030. While commitments and funding are essential, the completion rate of commitments needs to improve beyond the current 72% success rate. The episode underscores the importance of inclusive decision-making, strong policy initiatives, and effective conservation projects to drive progress towards ocean protection.

In conclusion, while the Our Oceans Conference showcased positive steps towards ocean conservation, there is a clear recognition that more work needs to be done to meet the ambitious target of protecting 30% of land and water by 2030. The episode's analysis highlights the challenges and complexities involved in achieving this goal and underscores the importance of continued dedication and action to safeguard the ocean for future generations.

Concerns in Marine Conservation

The episode highlights several concerning issues in marine conservation that were discussed at the Our Oceans Conference. One major concern is the practice of bottom trawling in marine protected areas (MPAs). Bottom trawling is a destructive fishing method that scrapes along the ocean floor, causing habitat destruction and impacting marine biodiversity. Despite efforts to establish MPAs for conservation purposes, the allowance of bottom trawling within these areas undermines their effectiveness in protecting marine ecosystems.

Another significant concern raised in the episode is the issue of deep-sea mining. Countries like Norway, the Cook Islands, and Japan are exploring the possibility of deep-sea mining in their national waters. However, the environmental impacts of deep-sea mining remain largely unknown. The deep-sea contains unique and diverse habitats that play crucial roles in the ocean ecosystem. The potential damage from deep-sea mining could have far-reaching consequences on marine biodiversity and ecosystem health.

Furthermore, the slow progress in ratifying the High Seas Treaty is a cause for concern. The treaty aims to establish regulations for activities in the high seas, beyond national jurisdiction. While 89 countries have signed the treaty, only four have ratified it so far. The delay in ratification hinders the implementation of crucial measures to protect the high seas and promote sustainable ocean governance.

These issues underscore the challenges and complexities in marine conservation efforts. Addressing concerns such as bottom trawling in MPAs, deep-sea mining, and the ratification of international agreements like the High Seas Treaty requires coordinated efforts from governments, organizations, and stakeholders. It is essential to prioritize sustainable practices, protect marine habitats, and enhance international cooperation to safeguard the health and biodiversity of our oceans.