The surf community joins fight for ocean conservation

Nautical Channel
15 Nov 2021
NEWS | Industry, Surf

The World Surf League has launched the global We Are One Ocean petition to call on world leaders to adopt a target at the 2021 United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. 

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The aim is to protect and conserve at least 30% of the global ocean by 2030. As the petition has been launched, over 150 countries, 90+ organizations and more than 400 million cumulative reach has been brought together. This way, we could save the ocean from any human activity that deteriorates the global biodiversity of marine life.

What is the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and what does the petition call for? 

The UN Convention on Biological Diversity meets to consider the targets to protect and conserve the global ocean over the following 9 years. With this petition, We Are One Ocean asks leaders to protect oceans, including international waters.

The aim is to support leveraging a network of critical areas for marine biodiversity, including those beyond national jurisdiction, which are largely unregulated. It advocates for a process led by science that considers the interests, values and perspectives of people. 

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Fishing and ocean preservation

Destructive fishing is one of the most significant threats to productive oceans. Overfishing has been an ongoing challenge for the fishing industry, and about 25% of U.S fish populations are overfished while 90% of global fish populations are fully-fished or overfished. 

These fishing activities can lead to the long term collapse of many fisheries and ecologically-important fish species. About 20% of wild-caught seafood imported to the U.S is estimated to come from pirate fishing practices, and this issue is worldwide. 

According to We Are One Ocean, the World Surf League (WSL) and WSL PURE respect fishing communities as they play an important role towards ocean conservation. However, they advocate for the limitation of destructive fishing practices such as dynamite fishing, cyanide fishing or bottom trawling. 

Dynamite fishing or blast fishing for instance uses explosives to kill schools of fish for easier collection. This is extremely destructive to the surrounding ecosystem as the explosion can destroy the underlying habitat, such as coral reefs. 

Also, many fishnets of fishing vessels end up capturing other marine species such as sea turtles, whales or dolphins. This leads to the decline in population of these non-target species. According to a study at the Centre for Ecology and Conservation at Exeter, most of the turtles caught were green turtles (86%). 

When using illuminated nets, there is a dramatic reduction in bycatch of sea turtles and cetaceans. 

“This work has further shown the usefulness of lights on nets to save wildlife. We now need lights that are ever more robust and affordable,” -Professor Brendan Godley of the University of Exeter. 

The role of the World Surf League

The WSL has decided to take further steps in ocean preservation as a global professional sports league. The ocean is their arena, and the future of surfing is at stake if the ocean’s health deteriorates. This has led them to take further measures for marine protection. 

With this campaign, they have interacted with conservationists, ocean advocates and lovers all over the world. Amongst cooperating organizations Shiseido and Gillete Venus have gotten in touch with over 90 stakeholders. 

Amongst them Mikey February, pro surfer and non-profit founder talks about how the ocean is a place of expression, therapy or opportunity. He believes many cultures share a deep connection with the ocean. 

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If you are interested in getting involved you can sign the petition on We Are One Ocean’s webpage. And if you want to find out more news like this, then follow Nautical Channel on social media: we are on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

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