International June 8, World Oceans Day: Getting to Know the Blue of Our Blue Planet SeafoodNews.com by Peggy Parker - June 8, 2021 Today is World Oceans Day, officially designated as June 8 by a vote of the United Nations General Assembly in 2008. This year's theme is "Life and Livelihoods" and includes celebrations all over the world with a focus on local awareness of our oceans importance and vulnerability, whether you live near a shore or at the top of a continent’s watershed. Events are being live-streamed today at the UN’s World Oceans Day website. Viewers can join explorers who are sharing discoveries they’ve made in the past year for the first time. In less than five minutes one can see an underwater lake filled with brine so strong there is no oxygen but life teems on its shores as shrimp hunt for fish, use the brine to stun them, then bring them back out of the brine to eat. All happening 1,800 meters below the surface of the ocean. A diver describes how sea-grass meadows sequester carbon and provide habitat for tiger sharks, showing footage of vast expanses of these rich areas around the Bahamas from both a sharks-eye view and a satellite orbiting the earth. “The purpose of World Oceans Day is to inform the public of the impact of human actions on the ocean, develop a worldwide movement of citizens for the ocean, and mobilize and unite the world’s population on a project for the sustainable management of the world's oceans,” reads the UN website for the celebration. “The ocean provides half the oxygen we breathe, is the source of 20 percent of the animal protein that we eat, and absorbs as much as half of the carbon emissions produced in the last century,” wrote Philippe and Ashlan Cousteau for GreenMatters in World Oceans Day: How to Protect the Ocean at Home. “On top of all of that, the ocean is home to 80 percent of all life on Earth,” they wrote.
This year’s theme of "Life and Livelihoods" is relevant in the lead-up to the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, which runs from 2021 to 2030. The Decade will strengthen international cooperation to develop the scientific research and innovative technologies to meet the needs of society as well as the sustainability of the ocean resources. The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is celebrating the day by announcing 100 improvements were made by MSC certified fisheries in 2020 that directly addressed issues related to endangered, threatened and protected species, among others. Fisheries in the MSC program make a long-term commitment to sustainability, and improvements are a central part of achieving and maintaining certification. Among the improvements were those made by the US North Pacific halibut fishery, which worked with federal fishery managers on innovative methods, like the implementation of heat maps, to document fishing efforts and catch composition on bycatch and discards from halibut vessels under 40 feet. Data was collected that showed limited risk in bycatch. Ongoing data collection will continue to detect any increase in risk to main bycatch species. Collecting more information from the smaller vessels in this halibut fishery helps to ensure any risk to bycatch species is accounted for. In Australia improvements made through MSC certification include those in atuna fishery which introduced mitigation tools and electronic monitoring on all vessels to minimize harm to protected species. In Canada the haddock fishery is using new measures to aid the recovery of thorny skate, which is classified as vulnerable. Fifteen of MSC’s global improvements helped enhance fisheries’ understanding and management of impacts on local ecosystems and habitats. These included an Icelandic shrimp fishery that supported research into seabed mapping in efforts to avoid causing harm to delicate deep-sea sponge clusters. Twenty improvements were also made to fishery management and 11 to the status of target fish stocks. These measures come as concern about the ocean increases. As highlighted in the U.N.'s Second World Ocean Assessment there are many areas in which urgent action is needed to avoid losing marine biodiversity. “Unsustainable fishing practices are a serious threat to the biodiversity and productivity of our oceans. Yet we know that with proper management, depleted stocks and damaged ecosystems can recover,” said Dr. Rohan Currey, chief science and standards officer at the MSC. “More than 400 MSC-certified fisheries around the world are already leading the way in best practice. Often working closely with local agencies and science bodies, they also help drive research and innovation, adding to the body of knowledge in fisheries science. “As we enter this crucial UN Decade of Ocean Science, it’s vital that we accelerate collaboration and progress across the globe if sustainable ocean outcomes are to be achieved long-term,” Currey said. Today and throughout National Oceans Month in the US, the MSC will be reminding consumers that their purchasing decisions can positively impact ocean health and climate change. Those issues are among the top three environmental concerns expressed by the American public. Younger consumers, those aged 18-34, are particularly motivated to take action to help protect seafood for the future. They are also significantly more ecolabel aware and willing to pay more for certified sustainable seafood, MSC’s research shows. Through its ‘Little Blue Label, Big Blue Future’ consumer engagement campaign, the MSC reminds eco-conscious consumers of what the MSC blue fish label stands for. “The next five years for our ocean depends on the purchasing decisions consumers make today,” noted Jackie Marks, Senior Public Relations Manager at the MSC. “The future of our one shared ocean is in the hands of everyday consumers, and ending overfishing is dependent on the collective actions of a global community.” Throughout the 21 years MSC has offered its seafood certification program, there have been a total of 1,931 improvements from closed conditions made by MSC-certified fisheries. https://www.seafoodnews.com/Story/1200712/June-8-World-Oceans-Day-Getting-to-Know-the-Blue-of-Our-Blue-Planet Environment/Science Climate Change: NOAA Fisheries Supports Coastal Communities Climate change is affecting our communities, businesses, and natural resources—including our fisheries and coastal habitats. NOAA Fisheries - June 7, 2021 By now we have all heard about climate change and some of us may have started to notice changes out on the water. Warmer ocean temperatures, more frequent algal blooms, your favorite species arriving earlier in the fishing season—these are all signs the environment is changing. Across the United States, changes in our climate and oceans are affecting our communities, businesses, and natural resources—including our fisheries and coastal habitats. https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/feature-story/climate-change-noaa-fisheries-supports-coastal-communities Labeling and Marketing Murkowski and Colleagues Stand Up for Wild-Caught Salmon Reintroduce Bill for Clear Labels on Genetically Engineered Salmon June 4, 2021 U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) reintroduced the Genetically Engineered Salmon Labeling Act, which will allow consumers to make informed decisions when purchasing salmon. The bill works to ensure that any genetically engineered (GE) salmon products sold in the U.S. are clearly labeled “genetically engineered” in the market name. This requirement would apply to the entire lineage of salmon modified via recombinant DNA technology. The bill is co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR). https://www.murkowski.senate.gov/press/release/murkowski-and-colleagues-stand-up-for-wild-caught-salmon
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