WWF & IUCN Outline 'Vision for Our Blue Planet' on World Oceans DayLISBON, Portugal -- At EXPO '98, the conservation organization WWF and the IUCN-World Conservation Union, today released their first-ever global strategy for marine conservation: Creating a Sea Change: A Vision for Our Blue Planet.
This global marine policy provides a blueprint to save our seas, said Dr Claude Martin, Director General of WWF International. It lays down actions that every section of society - governments, industry, communities, and individuals - can undertake to reverse the current degradation of the oceanic environment.
At a special event to commemorate World Oceans Day, WWF also announced a marine 'Gift to the Earth' made by the Government of Turkey. The gift involves protection of important habitats of the Mediterranean Monk Seal along the Cilician coast of southern Turkey. This is the rarest seal in the world, with total surviving numbers probably less than 300.
Other significant commitments were also recognized by WWF in its effort to raise awareness during this International Year of the Ocean. The Government of Ecuador's gift made in March was passing the Galapagos Conservation Law. It will help reduce the threats of increasing human population pressure and commercial over fishing in these globally important islands.
We would like to congratulate the governments that are willing to take such bold decisions, said Dr Martin. When pieced together, such marine Gifts to the Earth' provide our best hope to conserve the rich biodiversity of the oceans.
These achievements reflect the five priorities identified in the WWF/IUCN policy: the establishment and effective management of marine protected areas; the conservation and recovery of threatened marine species; the sustainable management of fisheries; the reduction and elimination of marine pollution; and the promotion of integrated coastal management.
As Dr Sylvia Earle, prominent marine biologist, and Chairman of Deep Ocean Exploration and Research, pointed out: The oceans are in trouble, and therefore so are we.
Total benefits from the oceans have recently been estimated at US$21 trillion. But too many fish are being taken, too much waste dumped, and too much coastal area converted into urban and industrial sites destroying critical ecosystems on which marine wildlife, including commercial fish, depends.
Note: WWF has also prepared a video news release for the World Oceans Day.
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Someshwar Singh at +41 79 310 8102.