Press release

Because Our Planet Is Blue – international initiative launched

June 10, 2024
  • UN World Oceans Day on 8 June is a good opportunity to highlight the alarming scale of human-made threats to the Ocean, such as plastic pollution, underwater noise and the impact of the climate crisis.
  • With the EU elections coming up, the debate on the Nature Restoration Law has shown that getting good environmental legislation in place is a challenge.
  • OceanCare is marking this year’s World Oceans Day with the publication of the Declaration “Because our Planet is Blue” and is launching an international campaign to encourage governments to tackle the dire state of the Ocean as a matter of urgency.

UN World Oceans Day, celebrated internationally on 8 June, reminds us that a healthy Ocean, with thriving and well-protected wildlife and resilient marine ecosystems, is essential for a healthy planet. The Ocean, which covers more than 70 per cent of the Earth’s surface, provides significant benefits to the global community, which depend in large part on the maintenance of ocean processes, marine biodiversity and related ecosystem services.

The climate and environmental emergency we are experiencing is a crisis of unprecedented proportions and threatens our very survival. Addressing the ocean crisis responsibly means accepting the need for rapid and far-reaching action to avoid the worst consequences of our unsustainable and unhealthy dependence on fossil fuels and strategic minerals – and to put the Ocean on a path to recovery.

Fabienne McLellan, Managing Director of OceanCare said:

„The Ocean is our closest and strongest ally in coping with the climate crisis. But we continue to hurt it, day by day. It’s time we protect this already wounded ocean, let it recover to become resilient and healthy again – because our planet is blue.

“Marine wildlife is increasingly being threatened, degraded or destroyed by human activities, reducing the Ocean’s and seas’ ability to provide the vital functions on which life on Earth depends. We are failing to meet climate goals to keep global warming below 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, just as governments around the world are failing to meet all targets of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 14 ‘Life below water’.”

Nicolas Entrup, Director of International Relations of OceanCare added:

“It is not too late to take collective action and turn the tide, but the window of opportunity is likely to close in the next 5 to 10 years. That is why we are marking this year’s World Ocean Day by launching an international petition, ‘Because Our Planet Is Blue’, to encourage the public and decision-makers to recognise the scale of human-made threats and risks to the Ocean and take action.

“We call on the world’s governments to use the UN Ocean Conference in June 2025 to agree upon taking effective action to tackle the most pressing issues. They need to upscale their ambition, increase efforts and measures and their implementation. We must stop harming our planet and start caring for it. We must protect and restore the Ocean so that its inhabitants can survive and thrive.”

To accompany the campaign, OceanCare is launching a Declaration aimed at decision-makers around the world, setting out six immediate steps that governments around the world must agree and implement to ensure that the destruction of the marine environment is halted and life in the Ocean is given a chance to recover:

  1. Ban offshore oil and gas exploration and phase out existing fossil fuel extraction;
  2. Implement mandatory measures to reduce vessel speed;
  3. Ban destructive fisheries such as bottom trawling;
  4. Adopt global rules to end plastic pollution, addressing the full life cycle of plastics;
  5. Agree on a global moratorium on deep-sea mining; and
  6. Ensure effective protection of marine habitats and enforce marine conservation measures to restore ecosystems damaged by human activities.

The proposals have been put forward by international experts from OceanCare, an international marine conservation NGO founded in Switzerland in 1989, holding Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (UN ECOSOC).


The world is facing simultaneous crises of climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss, which pose a serious threat to the future existence of humanity.

The Ocean covers more than 70 per cent of the Earth’s surface and constitutes 95 per cent of the biosphere. By storing solar radiation and distributing heat and moisture around the globe, it influences the world’s climate and drives weather systems that affect life on land and in the water. The Ocean and its ecosystems also provide significant benefits to the global community, including climate regulation, around 50 per cent of oxygen production on Earth, food, livelihoods, employment, maritime trade, recreation and cultural well-being.

Through the Agenda 2030, the United Nations have agreed on seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), committing to achieving sustainable development in a balanced and integrated way. While many of the SDGs are relevant to ocean conservation, number 14 – ‘Life below water’ – is at its core. Currently, the world is failing to meet this goal.

As the planet’s largest carbon sink, the Ocean absorbs the excess heat and energy released by rising greenhouse gas emissions and trapped in the Earth’s system. Today, the Ocean has absorbed about 90 per cent of the heat generated by rising emissions. As the excess heat and energy warms the Ocean, the change in temperature leads to unprecedented cascading effects, including ice melting, sea level rise, and marine heatwaves. Marine heatwaves have doubled in frequency and become longer, more intense and more widespread. Rising temperatures increase the risk of irreversible loss of marine and coastal ecosystems, including damage to coral reefs and mangroves that support marine life.

The Paris Agreement’s goals can only be met if we immediately stop exploring for new fossil fuel reserves. Yet billions of dollars continue to be spent exploring the seabed for oil and gas. Marine protected areas are not exempt from these efforts. Drilling, production, transport, refining, etc. are often the cause of major oil spills. Hydrocarbon exploration involves the use of airguns, which produce some of the loudest human-made noise ever known, damaging marine life from the smallest plankton to the largest whale.

Anthropogenic noise in the marine environment is generally increasing at an alarming rate. In some areas, underwater noise levels have doubled every decade over the past 60 years. This poses a significant threat to marine ecosystems and the survival of mammals, turtles, fish and other marine life. Shipping is the main source of continuous noise emissions to the marine environment. Ship strikes remain a major cause of mortality for large whales in many regions. The shipping sector, whose greenhouse gas emissions have increased by 20 per cent in the last decade (accounting for about 3 per cent of total global emissions), operates with an ageing fleet that is 98.8 per cent dependent on fossil fuels for its operations.

Pollution from the overproduction and consumption of plastics has become an existential threat to the planet, including our ability to stay on track to a 1.5°C world. Global plastics production is projected to triple from 460 million tonnes per year in 2019 to 1,231 million tonnes in 2060 without significant regulation. An estimated 9 million tonnes of plastic waste enters the Ocean each year killing vast numbers of whales, dolphins, seals, sharks, turtles, sea birds, and other marine life. The use of destructive fishing gear, along with overfishing, is one of the greatest threats to marine ecosystems today. Trawling and dredging should be banned in vulnerable seabed habitats and in areas where these fishing methods result in incidental harm and mortality of threatened megafauna species. Harmful fisheries subsidies must be eliminated.

Deep-sea mining could destroy habitats, wipe out populations and species, and cause potentially unavoidable widespread and irreversible damage to ecosystems and biodiversity. It would also interfere with the planet’s largest carbon sink in the midst of a global climate emergency.

These threats are likely to cause irreversible damage to marine biodiversity and have lasting impacts on the lives and livelihoods of coastal communities and beyond.

The UN Ocean Conference 2025 which will be held in June 2025 in Nice, France, provides a unique opportunity for governments to agree on a global strategy to protect and restore the Ocean. It is vital that such a strategy addresses the key gaps in the current failure of world governments to meet the targets of SDG 14. It must also be consistent with the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.