8th June 2021: The United Nations have declared 8th June as World Oceans Day. This year’s theme is ” The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods” and the international community’s opportunity to recognise and cherish the functions and services that the marine ecosystem provides, including the intrinsic value that the ocean and marine life has. In celebration and support of the life and livelihood that the ocean sustains, OceanCare puts the spotlight on European waters where complex human impacts increasingly endanger the marine life therein.
Oceanic waters cover over 70 per cent of the Earth’s surface. This vast environment is home to a broader spectrum of higher animal taxa than exists on land. Many marine species have yet to be discovered and the number known to science is expanding annually. The sea also provides people with substantial supplies of food, mainly fish, shellfish and seaweed. It is a shared resource for us all.
The need is increasingly urgent to protect it from threats like overfishing, ocean heating, acidification and anthropogenic underwater noise, plastic and chemical pollution. Those threats are eroding the ocean’s ability to function as our life support system.
Iconic species like whales and dolphins are flagship species for the ocean that fascinate people around the world. Being at the top of the marine food-web, they are also considered sentinels for the health of the ocean. Yet, many of the cetaceans living in European waters are facing an uncertain future as they are exposed to a myriad of threats.
Dr. Giovanni Bearzi, Italian dolphin researcher, reflects upon the Conservation of European Whales and Dolphins and Life at Sea. His opinion piece provides food for thought how the ‘sea of plenty’ has become a battleground of survival and why “we must commit to rewilding our seas”.
On World Oceans Day we invite everyone to reflect upon the state of the ocean and what it needs to protect more than two thirds of our planet. Take 10 minutes to listen to him, his experience of studying dolphins for more than three decades in the Mediterranean Sea.
Together with leading experts such as Dr. Giovanni Bearzi, OceanCare devotes its work to the protection of the marine environment 365 days of every year.