UNITED NATIONS ENVIRONMENT PROGRAMME

The UNEP have a mission to tackle plastic in the marine environment to preserve fish stocks

 

 

 

We need fish for food that are toxin free. To ensure fish stocks we need to eliminate plastic waste from the food chain before we poison ourselves.

 

 

JUNE 2014 - PRINCE ALBERT II OF MONACO CALLS FOR OCEAN GOVERNANCE

Nairobi, 26 June 2014 - With the fate of the Earth's marine environment hanging in the balance and human-induced challenges accelerating, ocean champions from around the globe - including His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco and the former Heads of State, Ministers and business leaders of the Global Ocean Commission - have joined forces in a clarion call for comprehensive and integrated ocean governance.

The urgent appeal was issued during the first-ever United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) in Nairobi, as Prince Albert, an award-winning environmental activist, addressed the myriad challenges facing the oceans - including pollution, overfishing and, increasingly, climate change, subjects on the agenda of Ban Ki-moon, the UN's Secretary General.

 

An estimated 350 million jobs around the world are linked to the oceans, and as much as 40 per cent of the world's population lives within 100 kilometers of the shoreline. Nevertheless, human impacts have destroyed an estimated 20 per cent of mangroves and 30 per cent of seagrass beds, and threaten 60 per cent of the world's coral reefs - a major source of income for some 850 million people.

 

 

President Barack Obama and Ban Ki-Moon at the United Nations

 

UN NEWS CENTRE - 7 November 2012 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warmly congratulated President Barack Obama on his re-election as President of the United States, a spokesperson for the world body's head said overnight.

“The Secretary-General looks forward to continuing to work with President Obama and his administration in the spirit of the enduring partnership between the United States and the United Nations,”
Mr. Ban's spokesperson added in a statement.

According to media reports, while some results have yet to be finalized, President Obama defeated his opponent, Mitt Romney, with 303 electoral college votes compared to Mr. Romney's 206 electoral college votes. Under the US presidential voting system, a candidate needs to secure at least 270 electoral college votes to secure victory.

“Many challenges lie ahead – from ending the bloodshed in Syria, to getting the Middle East peace process back on track, to promoting sustainable development and tackling the challenges posed by climate change,” the spokesperson noted. “All will require strong multilateral cooperation.”

“The Secretary-General and the United Nations will continue to count on the active engagement of the United States on these and other crucial issues as it strives to meet the hopes and expectations of people around the world.” Ban Ki-moon is seen above with US President Barack Obama at UN Headquarters in September 2012. Photo ref: Mark Garten UN.

 

 

Land-based human activities have also resulted in more than 500 oxygen-poor 'dead zones', which cover an estimated 245,000 square kilometers of coastal zones. Greenhouse gas emissions are raising sea-levels and threatening the very existence of some island states.

"The Earth's marine environment provides humanity with a number of important services, ranging from the air we breathe, to food security and storm protection. These in turn underpin lives and livelihoods around the globe," said Prince Albert.

"However, with a population set to rise from seven billion today to nine billion by 2050, threats to the ocean - including pollution from land-based sources, over-fishing and unmanaged coastal development - are likely to intensify. The International community must build on the Future We Want, adopted in Rio in 2012 and seize the opportunity of a Blue Economy. There cannot be social economic development without resilient and productive oceans," he added.

Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), stressed that stricter adherence by states to the existing regime of regional oceans governance - led for the last 40 years by the UNEP Regional Seas Programme - was critical to reversing the rapidly accelerating degradation of the oceans.

The Regional Seas Programme, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, is the world's only legal framework to address marine issues at the regional level. Its network of 18 regional Conventions and Action Plans aim to engage neighbouring countries in comprehensive and specific actions to protect their shared marine environment.

 

 

 

HRH the Prince of Wales speaking at a Global Ocean Commission event in Washington DC in March of 2015. The future King of England has consistently kept a weather eye open to help safeguard the marine environment.

 

 

Nearly 150 countries across seven continents participate in the Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans.

"Despite their importance as major drivers of economic growth, the world's oceans are not a bottomless resource," said Mr. Steiner. "There is significant evidence that we are at risk of overstepping the 'safe operating space' within which irreversible environmental changes to the world's oceans remain avoidable."

"It is high time for the international community to adopt a truly 'oceans-based' economy, one which adequately values our oceans and the products and services they provide," he added. "The UNEP Regional Seas Programme - which for more than four decades has formed the backbone of progressive oceans management - provides the framework through which neighbouring countries can join hands and reverse the staggering damage that humanity has caused."

Prince Albert and Mr. Steiner were joined by José María Figueres, former president of Costa Rica and Co-Chair of the Global Ocean Commission. The Commission is a group of senior political figures, business leaders and development specialists concerned with the health and management of the oceans with a particular focus on the high seas. The Commission has spent the last 18 months investigating the decline of the global ocean and earlier this week delivered a rescue package of eight proposals to restore and protect its natural capital and services.

"If not us, who? If not now, when? The global ocean is our life support system, but we're pushing it to the point of collapse through neglect and abuse," said Mr. Figueres. "Our proposals offer an integrated rescue package, and now all of us here at the UNEA must pioneer its delivery. The scientific, economic and moral case for action is clear. This is the beginning of our collective 'Mission Ocean'."

 

 

 

Marine life needs to be protected against ocean pollution. Ocean pollution includes plastic, nets and oil spills. Technology with the potential to alleviate such issues should be accelerated as a high priority.

 

 

One of the main issues addressed by the Commission's report is that of Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing, which is widely understood to have significant ecological, economic and social impacts. IUU fishing is also linked to human rights and labour violations when illegal vessels facilitate trafficking of people, drugs and weapons.

Sub-Saharan Africa is estimated to lose close to US$1 billion annually due to illegal fishing in its waters. West Africa has some of the world's highest reported rates of IUU fishery activity, with one third to a half of the catch affected.

According to the Commission's new report, IUU fishing can be combatted by stricter adherence to existing oceans governance mechanisms, such as the Port State Measures Agreement of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The agreement requires parties to exert greater control on foreign-flagged vessels, thereby keeping illegally caught fish out of the world's markets.

At UNEA, Mr. Figueres and the Global Ocean Commission called upon the participants to commit to taking action on their proposals such as ratifying the Port State Measures Agreement. Mr. Figueres added that it would only take 14 more countries to ratify this agreement before it would come into force, taking us one curial step closer towards putting an end to illegal fishing globally.

In addition, the Commission's report calls for the ratification and implementation of International Maritime Organization treaties securing the safety of life at sea for workers on industrial fishing vessels, the removal of harmful fishing subsidies, and the reduction of the greenhouse gas emissions, which are causing not only climate change but ocean acidification.

Indeed, the data point increasingly to long-term socio-economic consequences if the world's oceans are not managed for sustainability. According to the new UNEP paper on Regional Oceans Governance, the main challenge is that the current instruments of oceans governance were designed separately and are not complementary.

While regional oceans governance is provided for by the Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans, oceans governance at the global level is laid out in the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea - sometimes known as the "constitution of the oceans".

According to Regional Oceans Governance, a holistic approach to oceans management - as called for explicitly by the 1994 Rio Summit - is one which is integrated at the national, sub-regional, regional and global levels, and which addresses sectoral and cross-sectoral issues.

In this regard, the Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans provide a platform for action to more accurately value the world's oceans and the ecosystem services they provide, involving a number of sectors.

For example, the Regional Sea programme known as the Abidjan Convention - based in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire - has, in a series of recent decisions, moved to consider potential feasibility of "green taxes" on extractive and polluting industries, in light of the importance of natural resources, mining and minerals found within the waters and coastal areas of the States Parties to the Convention.

 

 

 

 

 

ABOUT THE UNITED NATIONS ENVIRONMENT ASSEMBLY (UNEA)

 

UNEA is the highest-level UN body ever convened on the environment. It enjoys universal membership of all 193 UN member states as well as other stakeholder groups. With this wide reach into the legislative, financial and development arenas, the new body presents a ground-breaking platform for leadership on global environmental policy. UNEA boasts over 1200 participants, 170 national delegations, 80 ministers and 40 events during the five-day event from 23 to 27 June 2014 at UNEP's HQ in Nairobi, Kenya.

 

Additional Information - For more information, visit the website of the UNEP Regional Seas Programme: http://www.unep.org/oceans40

 

 

 

Global Ocean Commissioners at the 2013 launch. From left: David Miliband, Obiageli 'Oby' Ezekwesili, Jose Maria Figueres

 

 

The Commission will publish its final recommendations in early 2014, shortly before the United Nations General Assembly begins discussions on protecting high seas biodiversity. The Commission’s report will consist of proposals improve the system of governance, thus ending high seas overfishing, stopping the loss of habitat and biodiversity, and improving monitoring and compliance.

 

 

 

BRIEFING - IMO WELCOME GLOBAL OCEAN COMMISSION REPORT - AUGUST 2014

 

International Maritime Organization (IMO) Secretary-General Koji Sekimizu has welcomed the recently-published report of the Global Ocean Commission (GOC), From Decline to Recovery: A Rescue Package for the Global Ocean, and its call for enhanced action at all levels to mitigate the threats to the global oceans described in the report.

 

In a letter to the co-chairs of the Global Ocean Commission (Mr. José María Figueres, Mr. Trevor Manuel and Mr. David Miliband), Mr. Sekimizu noted that, as the United Nations specialized agency dedicated to sustainable uses of the world’s oceans through safe, secure, clean ships, IMO plays a key role in advancing the critically important agenda carried forward in the report and has adopted key treaties addressing several of the outlined threats.

 

Mr. Sekimizu highlighted IMO’s active role in addressing many of the issues raised in the GOC report, noting also that IMO is working actively through several existing coordination mechanisms – such as UN Oceans, the Global Partnership for Oceans, and the Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP) – to ensure that joint efforts are maximized and duplication reduced.

 

“In my view, thoughtful development of ocean regulations, coupled with early entry into force, effective implementation, stringent compliance oversight and vigorous enforcement of international standards are the best ways to protect and sustain the precious marine environment and its resources. Through the application of these principles, for example, the average number of large oil spills (>700 tonnes) during the 2000s was just an eighth of that during the 1970s. This dramatic reduction has been due to the combined efforts of IMO, through its Member Governments and the oil/shipping industries to improve safety and pollution prevention,” Mr. Sekimizu said. 

 

 

 

In other examples of IMO’s commitment and ongoing work to address the challenges outlined in the GOC report, Mr. Sekimizu referred to IMO’s work to support sustainable development, including pollution reduction through implementation of the MARPOL Convention and IMO’s other multilateral environmental agreements, in tandem with capacity-building efforts.

 

With regard to sustainable use of the oceans, particularly fishing, Mr. Sekimizu referred to IMO’s work with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to address illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, as well as the IMO Cape Town agreement of 2012, aimed at addressing fishing vessel safety.

 

Regarding the need to strengthen the governance of the high seas through promoting care and recovery, Mr. Sekimizu pointed to IMO’s lead role in the development of ecosystem-based management tools applicable to all marine areas and the designation to date of fourteen Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas, and the adoption of various special areas under MARPOL addressing operational discharges from shipping. Furthermore, IMO has established multiple traffic separation schemes and other ship routeing systems in major congested shipping areas in the world.

 

 

 

IMO Secretary General: Koji Sekimizu

 

 

With respect to the report’s Proposal 5 (Plastics – Keeping them out of the Ocean), Annex V of IMO’s MARPOL treaty prohibits the discharge of plastics from ships. The key issue is effective implementation, Mr. Sekimizu noted. 

IMO’s Code for the Construction and Equipment of Mobile Offshore Drilling Units (The MODU Code) provides international (non-binding) standards in support of the implementation of the GOC report Proposal 6 (Offshore Oil and Gas – Establishing binding international safety standards and liability). Meanwhile, in partnership with the oil and shipping industry, IMO has been working since 1996, within the framework of its International Convention of Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Cooperation, 1990, to enhance oil preparedness and response capacity for marine spills at priority locations around the world, irrespective of whether the spill originates from a ship, an oil handling facility or an offshore unit. 

Addressing the co-chairs, Mr. Sekimizu said, “There is no question that your important work will spur meaningful progress in the common quest to preserve and protect our oceans, while ensuring their sustainable use as an irreplaceable mode of transportation, communication, industry and livelihood. Thank you again for producing this important report, and I look forward, along with my sister agencies in the UN system and our Member States, to meeting the challenges ahead.

The full text of Secretary-General Sekimizu’s letter to the Global Ocean Commission co-chairs can be downloaded here

 

 

Global Ocean Commission proposal 5, keeping plastics out of the oceans

 

 

PROPOSAL 5 - KEEPING PLASTICS OUT OF THE OCEAN

 

Plastics are a major source of pollution on the high seas and a health threat to humans and the environment. This reflects poor handling and waste management practices on land and requires a combination of political and regulatory action supported by an increase in consumer awareness.

It is important to intensify efforts to address the variety of sources of marine pollution (persistent organic pollutants, hydrocarbons, heavy metals, nitrates, radioactive substances, marine debris, etc.). In particular, the Commission calls for coordinated action by governments, the private sector and civil society to eliminate plastics entering the global ocean including by:

1. Minimising single-use plastics by direct government intervention and consumer incentives.
2. Creating incentives to promote recycling and extend producer responsibility.
3. Establishing time-bound, quantitative reduction targets.
4. Achieving improved waste management.
5. Promoting consumer awareness.
6. Replicating local initiatives to restrict or ban certain unsustainable uses of plastic materials and clean-ups.
7. Addressing lost and discarded fishing gear, in particular FADs, to avoid abandonment.
8. Encouraging XPRIZE-like innovation around substitution, waste avoidance, recycling and clean-ups.
9. Exploring taxation and other levies to establish a Global Marine Responsibility Fund.


WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?

Given its mandate and its focus on the high seas, the Commission debated long and hard as to whether we should seek to address the problem of marine pollution at all, bearing in mind that it is estimated that 80% of all inputs of marine pollution come from land-based activities.

Nevertheless, we could not ignore that plastics are by far the most abundant and problematic type of marine debris in terms of the number of items. The amount of plastic in the ocean has risen sharply since the 1950s, with a tenfold increase every decade in some places. Scientists expect this trend to continue, given the increasing use of disposable plastic packaging and containers. In addition, the projected massive growth in plastic production is enhanced by the falling cost of plastic resin, which has become cheaper with the expansion of natural gas production.

 

 

 

Fishing is an essential activity for sustainable food supply. Over-fishing costs the global economy around $50 billion dollars a year.

 


WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE?

Given that the vast majority of plastic entering the ocean is from land-based sources, which reflects poor handling and waste management practices on land, tackling these problems requires a combination of political and regulatory action supported by an increase in consumer awareness. The Commission is therefore calling for more coordinated action by governments, the private sector and civil society to stop plastics from entering the global ocean in the first place. Plastics pollution does not respect borders or boundaries, it affects everyone and needs to be addressed collectively.

 

 

Plastic waste in the oceans is killing marine life

 

Tons of plastic floating in our oceans is a serious problem we face on this globe, considered to be one of most serious threats to our oceans. 90% of all trash floating on the ocean’s surface is in the form of plastic materials, with 46,000 pieces of plastic per square mile. Plastic does not biodegrade, it photo-degrades with sunlight, breaking down into smaller and smaller pieces. These plastic pieces are eaten by marine life and eventually works it way up the food chain - as per the diagram below.

 

 

Plastic is also swept away by ocean currents, landing in swirling vortexes called ocean gyres. The North Pacific Gyre off the coast of California is home to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the largest ocean garbage site in the world. The floating mass of plastic is twice the size of Texas. These floating garbage sites are impossible to fully clean up. Over 100,000 marine mammals and one million seabirds die each year from ingesting or becoming entangled in plastic. Plastic poses a significant threat to the health of sea creatures, both big and small. It takes 500-1000 years for plastic to degrade, threatening both human and ocean health.

 

 

 

TERRAMAR FOUNDERS - “45% of our planet is abused, overlooked & not preserved for future generations,”  “Just because the high seas are out of sight does not mean they should be out of mind. The TerraMar Project’s number one goal is to change attitudes and governance as it relates to the world’s largest ecosystem.”

 

The group is now offering passports - complete with unique numbers and a soon to come physical badge - for people to become citizens of the high seas, along with the chance to be “ambassador” for an underwater marine species of your choice. See the BMS passport above. Composed of a mix of NGOs, members of the High Seas Alliance and Save The High Seas, and experts in ocean policy, marine science, and law, the TerraMar network aims to tackle issues plaguing all of our oceans today, not just the high seas, including deep seabed mining, noise pollution, over-fishing, oil spills, and plastic pollution in the ever-growing Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

 

 

EUROPEAN COMMISSIONER FOR ENVIRONMENT, FISHERIES & MARITIME AFFAIRS

 

Global Ocean Commission co-Chairs David Miliband, Trevor Manuel and José María Figueres wrote to new European Commissioner for Environment, Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, Karmenu Vella, to express support for the EU’s pioneering regulation on illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and to seek a meeting for further exploration and discussion.

 

The Commission’s specific proposal on ending IUU fishing can be found in its 2014 report, From Decline to Recovery: A Rescue Package for the Global Ocean.

 

IUU fishing has a devastating impact on marine environments, livelihoods, food security and illegal fishers. The Global Ocean Commission believes that the EU IUU Regulation has tremendous potential for stopping the trade of illegal fish products into the world’s largest seafood market – the EU – and, as a result, contributing to discouraging and eliminating IUU fishing practices around the globe.

 

 

 

 

The Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (also known in short as DG MARE) is the Commission department responsible for the implementation of the Common Fisheries policy and of the Integrated Maritime Policy. With a staff of about 400, led by Director-General Lowri Evans (right) and based in Brussels, DG MARE is made up of 6 Directorates dealing with all aspects of both policies, including among others conservation, control, market measures, structural actions and international relations relating to fisheries. DG MARE reports to Karmenu Vella (left), Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries. Lowri Evans has been Director-General in DG Maritime Affairs and Fisheries since 2010. Prior to that she has worked in several policy areas in the European Commission notably Competition and Employment. She started her professional career in audit and accountancy with Deloitte.

 

 

Stopping illegal products from entering the EU allows for the creation of a level playing field for EU fishermen who operate in a legal, transparent and fair way and provides a safety net for protecting the supply chains of European processors and retailers.

 

The Regulation is also a showcase at the international level, demonstrating the influence one key market state can have as it encourages on-the-ground improvements in fisheries governance, monitoring control and surveillance in flag, coastal and port states, and eradicating some of the key IUU fishing hotspots globally.

 

As a direct outcome of the EU’s IUU yellow-carding (warning) and red-carding (trade restrictions) process, at least four countries – namely Fiji, Panama, Togo, and Vanuatu – have entirely reformed their fisheries policies and laws, introduced more sophisticated and effective vessel monitoring systems, and brought in sanctions for their nationals and vessels involved in IUU fishing. A large number of pre-identified countries have stressed the importance of cooperation and collaboration with the EU in this process, acknowledging its significant role in the global effort to deter IUU fishing.

 

ABOUT THE COMMISSIONER FOR MARITIME AFFAIRS AND FISHERIES

 

The Commissioner for Maritime affairs and Fisheries is a member of the European Commission. The portfolio includes policies such as the Common Fisheries Policy, which is largely a competence of the European Union rather than the members. The Union has 66,000 km of coastline and the largest Exclusive Economic Zone in the world, covering 25 million km². They also participate in meetings of the Agriculture and Fisheries Council (Agrifish) configuration of the Council of the European Union. Their governance is thus a model for the world and should send a signal to other fishing nations as to important issues and remedies. Actions speak louder than words.

MISSION STATEMENT

The Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries works to develop the potential of the European maritime economy and to secure a safe and stable supply of seafood, sustainable fisheries, healthy seas and prosperous coastal communities - for today's Europeans and for future generations.

This involves formulating, developing and implementing the Common Fisheries Policy - the cornerstone of our actions for a sustainable exploitation of fisheries resources; and promoting an integrated approach to all maritime policies.

RESPONSIBILITIES

1. Protecting the environment while maintaining Europe's competitiveness. 2. Harnessing the potential of our land and seas to create sustainable jobs that preserve our natural resources. 3. Implementing the new Common Fisheries Policy. 4. Leading the task, with our global partners, of defining the management and governance of the planet’s oceans.

 

CONTACTS

 

European Commission
Rue de la Loi / Wetstraat 200
1049 Brussels
Belgium

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.unep.org/  World Wildlife Fund

 

   

 

LINKS

 

Telegraph US-royal-tour-Prince-of-Wales-makes-plea-for-cleaner-oceans

Prince-of-Wales-speech-hrh-the-prince-of-wales-event-titled-plastic-the-marine-environment-scaling

Daily Mail Charles-horrified-toll-plastic-dumped-sea-Prince-Wales-plea-solve-issue-sake-future-generations

The Guardian environment 2015 March 19 Prince-charles-calls-for-end-to-dumping-of-plastic-in-worlds-oceans

http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/prince-charles-speaks-dangers-plastic-waste-oceans-29736519

Global Ocean Commission

Time environment-prince-charles-oceans

National Geographic Prince Charles oceans trash plastic britain

Wikipedia Global_Ocean_Commission

ITV 2015-03-18 prince-charles-makes-impassioned-plea-for-oceans-clean-up

The-terramar-project-become-a-citizen-and-protector-of-the-high-seas

National Geographic news 2014 June Global-ocean-commission-report-high-seas-fishing-environment

Virgin leadership and advocacy introducing global ocean commission

The terramar project  daily catch become a citizen and protector of the high seas

Wikipedia European_Commissioner_for_Maritime_Affairs_and_Fisheries

UNEP newscentre June 2014 Prince Albert II Monaco calls for ocean governance

Global ocean forum 2012 ioc unesco-permanent-un-missions-seychelles-fiji-organize-high-level-rio20-negotiations

http://www.unep.org/newscentre/Default.aspx?DocumentID=2791&ArticleID=10916&l=en

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Commissioner_for_Maritime_Affairs_and_Fisheries

http://www.virgin.com/unite/leadership-and-advocacy/introducing-global-ocean-commission

http://www.scienceifl.com/ocean-plastic-pollution.htm

http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/prince-charles-speaks-dangers-plastic-waste-oceans-29736519

http://www.globaloceancommission.org/

http://time.com/3750375/environment-prince-charles-oceans/

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/03/150318-prince-charles-oceans-trash-plastic-britain/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Ocean_Commission

http://www.itv.com/news/2015-03-18/prince-charles-makes-impassioned-plea-for-oceans-clean-up/

 

 

 

 

 

 

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