On June 8, we celebrate World Oceans Day. Here are seven economic and environmental reasons you too should celebrate and think about conserving the oceans and coral reefs in our region:
More than three-quarters of the surface of the earth are covered by oceans. They are home to an immense biological wealth: about 200,000 species identified, although it is estimated that there are millions of species yet to be classified.
50% the world’s oxygen is produced by phytoplankton, microscopic algae in the oceans, which are also the basis of the marine food chain.
Just think about it: to date 12 astronauts have walked on the moon. However, only three people have seen the Mariana Trench, at over 11,000 feet deep is the deepest point on planet earth.
Oceans are the major source of protein in the world: more than 2,600 million people depend on the sea as a primary source of protein.
The market value of marine and coastal resources and industries is estimated at about 5% of global GDP. 3,000 million people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity to survive. Marine fisheries directly or indirectly employ over 200 million people worldwide.
40% of the world’s oceans are affected by human activities and climate change, pollution, depletion of fisheries resources and the loss of coastal habitats. According to UN data, overfishing in recent decades has led to the collapse of 13% of global fisheries.
The Mesoamerican Reef, which stretches along more than 1,000km from Mexico Yucatan to Honduras , is the second largest barrier reef in the world. Reefs are a major tourist attraction and a rich source of biodiversity, since they are home to approximately 25% of all marine fish species in the world. However, it is estimated that about 20% of the world’s coral reefs have been destroyed in recent decades and that an additional 20% is already severely degraded.
This year the IDB dedicates global oceans day to coral reefs.
Video: View the story of Godfrey Louis, a fisherman who realized the importance of preserving this ecosystem and is dedicated to restoring coral in Placencia, Belize, to ensure their survival and that of their community.
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Maya Trotz says
Met Louis earlier this week. Video looks great. Assume you are showing the work of Fragments of Hope. Would be great if you included that information as one is more interested in the people actually doing the work and how to engage with them. Would encourage the IADB to fund groups like this in the future if they are not doing so already.
Agustín Cáceres says
Thanks for your comment, I am glad you liked the video!. Yes, this is an IDB-funded project that is supporting coral reef restoration activities in Belize with Fragments of Hope (http://fragmentsofhopebelize.wordpress.com/) and Jamaica with the Discovery Bay Marine Lab of the University of the West Indies (http://www.uwimona.edu.jm/cms/dbml.htm). You can find out more information about the project in the following link: http://www.iadb.org/en/projects/project-description-title,1303.html?id=RG-T2381.