Brazil pledges to protect two huge marine areas

Really exciting news that Brazil’s president has pledged to protect two huge marine areas.

The stunning Sao Pedro and Sao Paulo archipelago and the Trindade and Martim Vaz islands will be made protected areas, meaning 25 per cent of the country’s oceans will be safeguarded. The more of these areas that are strongly protected, the better!

It was great to see business leaders, politicians and environmentalists come together at the Economist’s Ocean Summit, which I joined via video, to talk about how we can look after and improve the world’s oceans. It’s so encouraging to see so many people on the same page. 

Highly protected marine areas are so important – they allow fish stocks to recover and help rebuild damaged reefs, and create sustainable and healthier long-term sources of food and jobs. It’s imperative that we act now as the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says nearly 80 per cent of the world’s fish stocks are fully-fished or overfished.

If you create a world like you create a farm, and leave areas untouched while you farm other areas, you can have plentiful fish for thousands of years to come, for 10 billion people without any difficulty. Ocean Unite and the Oceans Elders have a target of 30 per cent of the ocean being protected by 2030.

The competition for ocean leadership is heating up across Latin America. The Brazilian commitment follows Chile’s decision to protect three new marine areas – meaning that Chile will have protected an astonishing 42.4 per cent of one of the biggest exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the world. EEZ’s are areas near a country’s coastline where they can claim exclusive rights for fishing, drilling and other economic activities.

Mexico has protected almost 23 per cent of its waters, creating the Revillagigedo marine park in December of 2017 – the biggest marine reserve in North America. Mexico and Ecuador also announced at the meeting that they will be collaborating on protected areas linking their EEZs. Belize also said is expanding its no-take zones, which prohibit fishing and resource removal, to cover 10 percent of its marine areas. And now Canada is catching the bug and taking the ocean to the G7. 

The links between the ocean and climate change cannot be ignored and it’s so positive to see that these issues are now front and centre for governments around the world.  


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