A major global conference this week in Indonesia will see the announcement of findings worth millions of dollars aimed at fighting global overfishing and protecting the coral reefs.
The conference called Our Ocean conference will bring together politicians, marine experts and philanthropists where they will strive to come to an agreement about tackling the issues being faced by the Earth’s oceans which will include rising of sea temperatures, tackling of unscientific and rampant fishing practices, marine pollution and bleaching of the coral reefs.
$86m would be donated by Bloomberg Philanthropies in funds for supporting coastal communities in 10 countries, including Australia, Fiji, Indonesia, Tanzania, Peru and the US. These countries are also among the top fishing countries in the world, possess coral; reefs and extensively depends on fish as food.
“Informed by the first phase, our second phase will expand efforts into new countries and add a focus on coral,” said Patricia Harris, CEO of Bloomberg Philanthropies.
“Our work on oceans has shown that, when a combination of national advocacy and local leadership is backed by data, we can make great progress improving the health of our oceans and improving lives around the world.”
A total of 50 coral reefs through the world as identified by scientists at the University of Queensland, Australia, would also be protected by the fund.
The selection of the reefs was made on the basis of the good potential of them to tackle the impact of climate change and the chances of them repopulating the neighbouring coral reefs.
Global warming has resulted in the rapid decline of coral reefs which provide a habitat to more than 1 million species of water organisms. According to the projections of green house gas emissions, experts believe that 70 to 90 per cent of the reefs would decline by 2050.
“Climate change is the long-term threat to ocean health, so we are focusing on building reef resilience by examining two near-term threats – destructive fishing practices and pollution,” said Melissa Wright, oceans programme lead at Bloomberg Philanthropies.
“Over the next four years one of our priorities is to protect 50 reef areas that represent at least 75% of coral species. We want to ensure there are seed banks that will be able to repopulate other reefs.”
One of the major areas selected for coral protection is Indonesia.
“We will be working with small-scale fishermen and conservation groups to create marine protected areas in the region,” said Wright. “We’ll also seek to prevent pollution from coal plants along the coast to prevent them dumping hot water and pollution onto the reefs.”
Andrew Sharpless, CEO of Oceana, an international advocacy organisation on ocean conservation, said: “What this grant does is fund a series of very practical interventions at national level. It is asking leading ocean countries to take steps to preserve and enhance the abundance of their own ocean territory.”
(Adapted from The Guardian.com)