Having worked in marine conservation around the world for many years, I have had the privilege to see first-hand how our oceans provide significant social and economic benefit to millions of people in coastal communities, as well as thousands of maritime businesses and industries. As well as being a source of extraordinary natural beauty, healthy seas are essential to a functioning global economy.
But this week WWF published its Living Blue Planet report, confirming the need to urgently protect and sustainably manage marine habitats and species. Some details make for grim reading: the size of marine populations has declined by almost half (49%) between 1970 and 2012. Not only is it a disaster for ecosystems, it spells trouble for all nations, especially developing countries which depend heavily on the ocean’s resources for their food, livelihoods and economic development opportunities.