“In addition to events in dozens of countries, we invite everyone to take ocean conservation personally by making a commitment and then sharing a selfie for the sea,” said World Oceans Day coordinator, Alyssa Isakower. “We can each do something to help protect our ocean!”
The oceans are essential to food security and the health and survival of all life, power our climate and are a critical part of the biosphere. The World Oceans Day provides a unique opportunity once a year to honor our world’s ocean that connects us all. After all, no matter where we live, we all depend on a healthy ocean for our survival and each one of us can contribute to resolve the issues facing our ocean, including ocean acidification, plastics pollution and overfishing.
It also provides opportunities to build synergies with media and decision-makers, which helps bring more positive attention to the ocean every year.
On June 8th, people around the globe celebrate World Oceans Day with the theme of “Together we have the power to protect the ocean.” This growing global event serves as a rallying point for raising awareness and promoting personal and community action in fun and positive ways, leading to a more aware, engaged, and sustainable society and a healthier ocean. Hundreds of events are planned to help individuals be part of the solution for our ocean by supporting clean energy choices, trash-free coasts and beaches, sustainable seafood, and more.
Ocean overfishing is simply taking wildlife from the sea at rates too high for fished species to replace themselves. For example, the Whale Shark, which can also be found in the Middle East, has been targeted in many areas for its flesh, liver oil and fins. Liver oil was traditionally used for water-proofing boat hulls. The huge fins are low quality but of high value in restaurants "signboards" in East Asia and the soft meat (known as "tofu shark") is in great demand in Taiwan.
In 1999 the whale shark was listed in Appendix II of the Bonn Convention for the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS). This identifies it as a species whose conservation status would benefit from the implementation of international cooperative agreements.
A proposal to add the Whale Shark to Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) was accepted by the 12th Conference in 2002 and put into force in the end of February 2003. This requires fishing states to demonstrate that any exports were derived from a sustainably managed population and to enable exports and imports to be monitored.
Although relatively little is known about the biology of this species, its long lifespan and slow reproductive rate, together with a naturally low abundance and highly migratory nature, are likely to increase its vulnerability to overexploitation by fisheries.
Where these huge and charismatic creatures regularly come close to shore, they have become important tourist attractions. Although the impacts on the sharks’ behavior are currently unknown, tourism may help to protect the species by giving it more value alive than fished.