The panel of 21 experts, which include CEOs from some of the largest seafood companies in the world including Thai Union Frozen Products, Bumble Bee Foods and High Liner Foods, says only an integrated approach that involves public-private partnerships can effectively turn around the declining health of oceans. Without action, the consequences for economies, communities and ecosystems will be irreversible, the panel says in its report.
The panel’s report provides recommendations to the Global Partnership for Oceans — a public-private partnership launched by the World Bank — on how to prioritize and implement sustainable ocean investment.
The report did not look at costs of implementing its recommendations. Complete findings and recommendations from the panel will be released in late 2013.
The panel recommends the GPO establish global networks of expertise and research to help improve ocean health. The centers and networks should help integrate key areas such as sustainable aquaculture, fisheries reform, combating marine pollution, conserving critical habitat and species and forming integrated ecosystem-based management.
Illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing can be addressed using existing partnerships and organizations at a global scale, the panel says. These existing networks can also combat market distortions that exacerbate the exploitation of ocean resources and empower community leaders and people to partner in positive change.
A United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report released in September said global warming is “unequivocal” and humans are turning up the heat — but more slowly since 1998. The atmosphere and oceans have warmed, snow and icecaps diminished, sea levels have risen and concentrations of greenhouse gasses (CO2, methane and nitrous oxide) have increased since 1750 due to human activity, the report concludes.
The rate of global sea level rise will “very likely” exceed the rate observed between 1971 and 2012. It attributes this to hotter ocean temperatures and melting glaciers and ice sheets.
Financial firm HSBC, which released its own reports echoing IPCC’s conclusions, said India, China, Inodnesa, South Africa and Brazil are the G-20 nations whose economies are most vulnerable to climate risks, including rising sea levels and melting glaciers.