World Wildlife Fund report on reviving the ocean economy




FIGURE 1 - The global asset value of our oceans is shown in the WWF diagram above. It's not just food and transport, the value includes carbon absorption, tourism and much more.





The ocean produces half the oxygen we breathe, and absorbs 30 per cent of the anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and around 93 per cent of the added heat arising from human-driven changes to the atmosphere.


The ocean is home to a largely uncatalogued diversity of life, from single-celled organisms to our planet’s largest creature, the blue whale. These species are intertwined in a complex food web within which humans play an increasing role.


The ocean’s services to humanity are very significant. Around 3 billion people obtain almost 20 per cent of their animal protein from fish, and the majority of the planet’s fish comes from the ocean. In some countries, as much as half of the animal protein consumed is fish. Fishing activities span the small-scale and daily gathering of marine life through to industrial-scale fishing where vessels can capture and process thousands of tonnes of seafood on a single voyage. The demand for protein from the sea has increased dramatically as human populations have grown. At the same time, agricultural systems are failing to keep up with the expanding demand for food.




FIGURE 2 - The annual gross marine product is compared to the GDP of the top 12 performing countries. Click on the picture above to see our suggested rate of contributions (SeaNet) to kickstart the recovery process.




FIGURE 3 - The annual gross marine product is compared to the GDP of the top 12 performing countries.





If we consider the analogy of the ocean as a “shared wealth fund”, our principal capital is being eroded at a rate that undermines the ocean’s value for future generations. It is time to push the reset button before we drive our shared wealth fund to collapse.


The good news is that rapid action on a number of key issues will deliver real change and benefits for ocean systems and the people who depend on them. Some of the benefits could be reinstated in a relatively short period of time. Central to this is conserving habitat that is critical to the

restoration of healthy and productive natural systems: the core assets of the ocean.


The opportunity is to galvanize an international movement that will take on this challenge. Leaders must prioritize the ocean and take the eight decisive actions that are outlined here for a better future for communities, ecosystems and businesses.


The eight actions proposed are achievable and logical, and many are mutually reinforcing. They are best taken at the same time; however we recommend that the first three actions be prioritized for 2015.


ACTION 1 Governments must embrace the Sustainable Development Goals, with their strong targets and indicators for the ocean, and commit to coherent policy, financing, trade and technology frameworks to restore and protect ocean ecosystems as part of the UN Post-2015 Agenda process.


ACTION 2 Leaders must address the serious problems of ocean warming and acidification. We must listen to science and make the deep cuts in emissions that will prevent further increases in dangerous climate change. It is vital that the world signs on to an ambitious international agreement in Paris in December 2015 (COP21) that will allow the rapid decarbonization of our
economies and societies.


ACTION 3 Coastal countries must deliver against the agreed target for at least 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas to be conserved and effectively managed by 2020, with an increase to 30 per cent by 2030. This is not just about the extent of area protected; it is about establishing ecologically coherent, representative networks of marine protected areas that help ensure the
strongest outcomes for biodiversity, food security and livelihoods.


ACTION 4 Habitat protection and fisheries management must go hand in hand. Institutional arrangements for managing the ocean should reflect the fact that an integrated approach for ecologically managed fisheries must focus on ecosystem resilience and function, as well as economic and social well-being.


ACTION 5 Global crises require global solutions. Given the transboundary nature of the ocean, we need appropriate international mechanisms for negotiation and collaboration to ensure its sustainable management. Formation of a “Blue Alliance” of concerned maritime states will provide leadership and build the case for a rapid and comprehensive set of actions on behalf of the ocean. Such a coalition could cultivate international will and foster the shared global responsibility and informed decision-making that are crucial when it comes to ocean resources. It will also be important to establish a global fund to support countries that have fewer resources and are more
vulnerable to the impacts of ocean degradation.


ACTION 6 Appropriately structured public-private partnerships that take into account the well-being of communities, ecosystems and business have the potential to revolutionize how sectors work together sustainably. Enabling a network of such cross-sectoral partnerships (public, private and community) to share ideas, solutions and blueprints for sustainable practices will ensure that even the least developed countries will have access to the necessary resources.


ACTION 7 Communities and countries must develop complete, transparent and public accounting of the benefits, goods and services that the ocean provides. Valuing the ocean’s assets is vitally important to helping inform effective decision-making.


ACTION 8 There is a need for an international platform to support and share ocean knowledge through which problems can be understood, and solutions and methodologies evaluated and applied. Such a platform must be interdisciplinary and informed by biological, social and economic data. This platform will build capacity and improve access to critical information and expertise.


These eight actions offer a clear plan for reviving the ocean economy. This year, 2015, is particularly important and opportune to forge global leadership and investment for the ocean. In 2015, two historic international agreements could be struck with provisions that have the potential to arrest the decline in ocean health, and shift toward a trajectory of ocean restoration. The year also marks an important opportunity for countries to harness the growing momentum on ocean conservation and sustainable use, and collectively make clear commitments on habitat conservation.


The WWF report acknowledged and builds on the work of other institutions engaged in ocean conservation including the Global Partnership for Oceans convened by the World Bank, the Global Ocean Commission and others.




A Manta Ray and Sea Turtle swim in a toxic plastic soup that is polluting our oceans and retarding healthy growth. The challenge to clean this mess up is huge. Plastic garbage is spread over millions of square miles. It is made up mostly of degraded plastic, broken down by sunlight and waves into tiny bits the size of grains of rice. Roughly 2.5 percent of the world's plastic ends up in the sea.



CNN NEWS - APRIL 23 2015


The world’s seventh-largest economy is heading toward collapse. An economic powerhouse conservatively valued at $24 trillion, one that annually churns out the equivalent of $2.5 trillion, is under assault. However, I am not referring to one of the G8 economies, but to the “super economy” of the ocean. It’s one that for far too long has been ignored and taken for granted — and it is going downhill fast.


The health and wealth of the ocean are assessed in a WWF report released Thursday, Reviving the Ocean Economy. The report is the result of a hard economic analysis performed by The Boston Consulting Group built on a foundation of the latest ocean science provided by the Global Change Institute of the University of Queensland.


True, the enormity of the ocean can complicate any single appraisal. But it is still important to try to understand its value if global leaders are ever going to sustain it for future generations.


The fact is that the ocean feeds us, employs us, offers protection and plays a direct role in the lives and livelihoods of people throughout the world. The ocean also provides intangible but essential services to humanity, such as climate regulation and oxygen production, that are difficult to put in monetary terms. And while we all may look at the ocean from different perspectives, no one can escape the fact that it is a shared resource that provides for each and every one of us.





A figure that may get lost in the headlines generated by our report is perhaps most telling: Seventy percent of the ocean's overall economic value relies on its continued health. Ocean assets like fisheries, coral reefs, mangroves and seagrasses that produce goods and services rivaling the world's top 10 economies will lose their value if we continue to over-exploit and outright destroy them.

That may seem like a far-off possibility to some, but it is a future foretold by the many details in this report. For example, 90 percent of the world's fish stocks are either fully exploited or over-exploited. And that is not all. By 2050 - only a few decades from now - it is possible that the ocean could lose its coral reefs, which have already been halved in the last few decades. This isn't just a concern for dive enthusiasts, but to the hundreds of millions of people that rely on ocean resources for their daily meals and their weekly paychecks.

The ocean is truly too big to fail. The loss of the ocean's critical habitats and species would have a devastating ripple effect on global food security and economies that no government bailout could salvage. Fortunately, our report identifies actions that would revive the ocean economy, three of which are critical this year.

First, the international community must rally around a set of sustainable development goals that clearly reflect the link between the environment - including the ocean - and human well-being. Also, negotiators meeting in Paris later this year must agree on an ambitious global climate deal that sets us on the path to avert the worst impacts of climate change. And finally, leaders must commit to conserving increasing amounts of coastal and marine areas over the course of the next 15 years.

The economic case for why the ocean is so critical to livelihoods around the world is clear, and we will not be able to plead ignorance if we collectively preside over the collapse of the ocean economy. Reviving the Ocean Economy is dedicated to helping us avoid that outcome, but it will require political vision and courage among policymakers.

All this said, and as terrifying as it is that the deterioration of the ocean's health has been its fastest in millions of years, there is actually some (potential) good news: If we act swiftly and with determination, marine resources can recover - and recover quickly. Many local examples - from the Mediterranean to the Mozambique Channel, from the Fiji archipelago to the Arctic - show us that conservation, restoration and sustainable-use approaches mean the ocean, and the people who depend on it, can both prosper.

Ultimately, the ocean bridges continents, connects cultures and offers equal opportunity inspiration and we should therefore work together in support of this vital shared resource. But if we are to have any chance of avoiding the point of no return, we must find ways of reaching genuine global commitments on sustainable development and climate. After all, it's far better to avoid an economic collapse than be forced to scramble to pick up the pieces.


The WWF claims to be taking action for the ocean. See how by clicking on the picture above.




The ocean's riches – such as fish and minerals – make it the seventh strongest economy in the world but its value is plummeting due to over-exploitation and climate change, a report has warned.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) report, Reviving The Ocean Economy: The Case For Action – 2015, states the value of key ocean assets is estimated to be around $25tn (£17tn), giving it an annual value of goods and services of $2.5tn – the seventh biggest in comparison to the world's economies and just behind the UK.

The WWF study likens neglecting the ocean's assets "to not investing in a fund that yielded a 10% return".

However, because of climate change and the ways in which industries are exploiting the ocean's products, the value of said goods is quickly deteriorating. It adds that more than two thirds of the ocean's annual value relies on healthy conditions.





WWF REPORT 2015 - Echoes the findings in a Guardian newspaper article in 2014, where much of their reference material was from the WWF.



WWF-UK CEO David Nussbaum said: "Our oceans are a climate regulator and carbon sink, supporting future global economic growth, as well as providing critical goods and services that underpin the well-being of billions of people. But rising temperatures and increased acidification put all this at risk.

"We should recognize the role our oceans play as an important business asset that requires sustainable management and investment – and governments should fully support and implement the UN sustainable development goal on the ocean."

The report gives three objectives to ensure the sustainability of the ocean: "1) embedding ocean recovery throughout the UN's sustainable development goals, 2) taking global action on climate change and 3) making good on strong commitments to deliver well-managed coastal and marine protected areas."

Lyndsey Dodds, head of UK marine policy at WWF-UK, added: "From a UK perspective, our government must recognize the value of our seas and ensure their protection, starting with swift designation of the next tranche of Marine Conservation Zones.

"These zones – along with other measures - such as improved fisheries management - are essential to safeguard the marine assets that underpin the UK economy".


Sean Martin by Sean Martin





Each year, oil companies remove approximately 3.7 trillion gallons of oil from the earth. This oil is transported by barges, ocean going tankers, and pipelines to refineries and storage facilities. It is inevitable that accidental leaks and spills will take place on a regular basis, where oil is mostly transported across vast oceans. That is the first stage of oil pollution. The second stage is oil byproduct pollution from plastic. Our use of oil and plastic causes ocean habitat degradation. Burning oil causes global warming and climate change causes acid oceans.





The number of wild animals on Earth has halved in the past 40 years, according to a new analysis. Creatures across land, rivers and the seas are being decimated as humans kill them for food in unsustainable numbers, while polluting or destroying their habitats, the research by scientists at WWF and the Zoological Society of London found.

“If half the animals died in London zoo next week it would be front page news,” said Professor Ken Norris, ZSL’s director of science. “But that is happening in the great outdoors. This damage is not inevitable but a consequence of the way we choose to live.” He said nature, which provides food and clean water and air, was essential for human well-being.

“We have lost one half of the animal population and knowing this is driven by human consumption, this is clearly a call to arms and we must act now,” said Mike Barratt, director of science and policy at WWF. He said more of the Earth must be protected from development and deforestation, while food and energy had to be produced sustainably.

The steep decline of animal, fish and bird numbers was calculated by analysing 10,000 different populations, covering 3,000 species in total. This data was then, for the first time, used to create a representative “Living Planet Index” (LPI), reflecting the state of all 45,000 known vertebrates.

“We have all heard of the FTSE 100 index, but we have missed the ultimate indicator, the falling trend of species and ecosystems in the world,” said Professor Jonathan Baillie, ZSL’s director of conservation. “If we get [our response] right, we will have a safe and sustainable way of life for the future,” he said.

If not, he added, the overuse of resources would ultimately lead to conflicts. He said the LPI was an extremely robust indicator and had been adopted by UN’s internationally-agreed Convention on Biological Diversity as key insight into biodiversity.






A second index in the new Living Planet report calculates humanity’s “ecological footprint”, ie the scale at which it is using up natural resources. Currently, the global population is cutting down trees faster than they regrow, catching fish faster than the oceans can restock, pumping water from rivers and aquifers faster than rainfall can replenish them and emitting more climate-warming carbon dioxide than oceans and forests can absorb.


The report concludes that today’s average global rate of consumption would need 1.5 planet Earths to sustain it. But four planets would be required to sustain US levels of consumption, or 2.5 Earths to match UK consumption levels.


The fastest decline among the animal populations were found in freshwater ecosystems, where numbers have plummeted by 75% since 1970. “Rivers are the bottom of the system,” said Dave Tickner, WWF’s chief freshwater adviser. “Whatever happens on the land, it all ends up in the rivers.” For example, he said, tens of billions of tonnes of effluent are dumped in the Ganges in India every year.


As well as pollution, dams and the increasing abstraction of water damage freshwater systems. There are more than 45,000 major dams – 15m or higher – around the world. “These slice rivers up into a thousand pieces,” Tickner said, preventing the healthy flow of water. While population has risen fourfold in the last century, water use has gone up sevenfold. “We are living thirstier and thirstier lives,” he said.


But while freshwater species such as the European eel and the hellbender salamander in the US have crashed, recoveries have also been seen. Otters were near extinct in England but thanks to conservation efforts now live in every county.


The number of animals living on the land has fallen by 40% since 1970. From forest elephants in central Africa, where poaching rates now exceed birth rates, to the Hoolock gibbon in Bangladesh and European snakes like the meadow and asp vipers, destruction of habitat has seen populations tumble. But again intensive conservation effort can turn declines around, as has happened with tigers in Nepal.





Marine animal populations have also fallen by 40% overall, with turtles suffering in particular. Hunting, the destruction of nesting grounds and getting drowned in fishing nets have seen turtle numbers fall by 80%. Some birds have been heavily affected too. The number of grey partridges in the UK sank by 50% since 1970 due to the intensification of farming, while curlew sandpipers in Australia lost 80% of their number in the 20 years to 2005.


The biggest declines in animal numbers have been seen in low-income, developing nations, while conservation efforts in rich nations have seen small improvements overall. But the big declines in wildlife in rich nations had already occurred long before the new report’s baseline year of 1970 – the last wolf in the UK was shot in 1680.


Also, by importing food and other goods produced via habitat destruction in developing nations, rich nations are “outsourcing” wildlife decline to those countries, said Norris. For example, a third of all the products of deforestation such as timber, beef and soya were exported to the EU between 1990 and 2008.


David Nussbaum, chief executive of WWF-UK said: “The scale of the destruction highlighted in this report should be a wake-up call for us all. But 2015 – when the countries of the world are due to come together to agree on a new global climate agreement, as well as a set of sustainable development goals – presents us with a unique opportunity to reverse the trends.

“We all – politicians, businesses and people – have an interest, and a responsibility, to act to ensure we protect what we all value: a healthy future for both people and nature.”




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Cleaner Oceans Project, SeaVax solar powered vacuum ship


A SEAVAX DRONE - This is a raw proposal for a robot ship that is designed to vacuum up plastic waste from the ocean based on the Bluefish ZCC concept. The vessel is solar and wind powered - and shares component with other ZCC variants. The front end (left) is modified so that there is a wide scoop area, into which plastic waste is funneled as the ship moves forward. The waste is pumped into a large holding bay after treatment, then stored until it can be off-loaded. The rear of the ship (right) carries two large wind turbines that generate electricity in combination with deck mounted solar panels to power the onboard processing machinery. The system can be semi-autonomous, such that in robot mode the vessel alerts and operational HQ to any potential problems and shares information as to progress for stake holders. The entire cleanup mission can be controlled from land, with visuals and data streams. A SeaVax ship would operate using a search program called SeaNet.














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