This year was a tough one in many ways, including for the ocean. For thelast four years, I’ve written an annual retrospective listing the top wins in ocean conservation. This year, I couldn’t compile 10 exciting victories.
Sure, new protected areas have been created (shoutout, most recently, to Argentina!), there has been progress toward a U.N. treaty to manage the high seas (shoutout to the High Seas Alliance!), and new science shows a few strong corals on the Great Barrier Reef can withstand super-hot temperatures without bleaching (shout-out to Terry Hughes, et al.!). Plus there is a lot going on behind the scenes now that will come to fruition in the next few years, including many of the commitments made at this year’s Our Ocean conference in Bali.
That work is all critically important and those achievements have been hard fought. But it’s not enough. We still have only 2.2 percent of our global ocean strongly protected, while scientists recommend 30–50 percent. Overfishing continues to get worse—we are now overexploiting over 33 percent of the world’s fish populations, up from 29 percent a few years ago.
Photo: Peter Fogden/Unsplash
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