With our natural resources facing increasing pressure the task of keeping our oceans, waterways and habitats healthy is an ongoing issue.
Whilst some environmental drives seek to highlight an important issue they can in the process distance or vilify other key stakeholders that have an important role to play in the responsible use of the environment.
For billions around the world—especially the world’s poorest—healthy oceans mean jobs, food and protection. FAO estimates that fisheries and aquaculture assure the livelihoods of 10-12 percent of the world’s population with more than 90 percent of those employed by capture fisheries working in small-scale operations in developing countries.
Ocean resources have a vast potential to provide growth, wealth, cultural identity and leisure but we cannot succeed in keeping our oceans healthy without everyone contributing in some small way to the productivity of our natural resources.
A healthy ocean is fundamental to the global effort to mitigate climate change and its impacts. “Blue carbon” sinks such as mangroves and other vegetated ocean habitats sequester 25 percent of the extra CO2 from fossil fuels and protect coastal communities from floods and storms. In turn, warming oceans and atmospheric carbon are causing ocean acidification that threatens the balance and productivity of the ocean.
In Australia our Seafood Industry Workers, Professional Fishermen, Recreational Fishermen, Producers and Community members number in the millions and each of these individuals benefit, use and impact our natural resources in one way or another.
Well managed fisheries, investment in sustainable aquaculture and protection of key habitats can restore the productivity of the ocean and provide benefits to the Australian people with food security economic growth and jobs for coastal communities.
Australia’s Seafood Industry supports a $2.4 billion dollar economic benefit whilst providing 14,469 jobs to Aussie workers.
This incredible contribution can only be maintained by the continued good governance, innovation and stewardship from seafood industry professionals.
But beyond industry our community members are also responsible for behaviour change from plastic use, detergent use, habitat awareness, responsible recreational fishing, boating and 4 wheel driving.
With 85% of Australians now living by the ocean the increase of coastal urban areas has created direct habitat destruction, hydrological modifications, pollution and the construction of artificial structures and reefs.
Around 17% of Australia’s mangroves have been destroyed since European settlement. Mangroves near developing centres have been systematically destroyed and damaged. Moreton Bay, for example, is situated near the city of Brisbane where an estimated 20% of the pre-European mangrove area has been subject to reclamation landfill.
So with a myriad of problems facing us an inclusive and collaborative approach Is key there is no silver bullet for success for a very broad range of problems but what we can do is continue to include all.
Want to make a contribution to the health of Australia’s marine environments? Whoever you are do something and take your #OceanPledge today.