!cid_2_3641199896@web126103_mail_ne1_yahooOn World Oceans Day, CIWEM asks everyone to think about their individual actions, and again urges Government to safeguard our oceans with a robust network of marine conservation zones.

The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) is pleased to join the international community in recognition of World Oceans Day, celebrated annually on 8th June. With the theme “Together, we have the power to protect the oceans,” the key objective of World Oceans Day 2013 is to raise global awareness of the current challenges faced by the international community in connection with the oceans. Essential to food security, the health and survival of all life, oceans are a critical part of the biosphere.

Yet, the oceans are plagued by overfishing, degraded habitats, pollution, debris, and low oxygen areas unable to support life. All caused by human interference, both individuals and governments bear responsibility to protect our oceans and halt further degradation.

CIWEM believes marine conservation zones (MCZs) are essential in protecting and enhancing both the natural environment and fish stocks. Evidence from across the world has shown that no-take zones greatly increase the total catch, even though parts of the sea become inaccessible to fishing boats. By creating places in which fish and shellfish can breed undisturbed, numbers rise consequently spill over into unprotected places.

Responding to a consultation on MCZs earlier this year, CIWEM urged government to increase the amount of secure zones which protect not only the most vulnerable species, but also those that make up this diverse ecosystem and the plants and animals now found living alongside industrial and recreational activities. Designations of MCZs are likely to result in an improvement in beneficial ecosystem services and the more connectivity in the network, the larger the benefit.

CIWEM’s Executive Director, Nick Reeves OBE, said: “We all depend on oceans but, for far too long, we have taken this vital and endlessly fascinating resource for granted; and we’ve abused them for commercial gain. We urge the Government to take more seriously its objective of ‘productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas,’ a goal that a full and robust MCZ network will help deliver. We need to allow our oceans to recover and to replenish after decades of decline and abuse.”

The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management, CIWEM, is an independent professional body and a registered charity, advancing the science and practice of water and environmental management for a clean, green and sustainable world. www.ciwem.org

World Oceans Day was first designated in 2008 by the United Nations General Assembly (resolution 63/111, paragraph 171). http://www.un.org/en/events/oceansday/

CIWEM’s recent response to Defra’s consultation on proposals for Marine Conservation Zone designations in 2013 can be found online at: http://www.ciwem.org/media/721621/cr_defra_mczs.pdf

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