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© Paolo Guglielmi / WWF Mediterranean

Oceans are finally on the main agenda for decision makers

This year's World Ocean Day, on June 8, has been marked by long-overdue attention to the importance of oceans and the benefits they provide. During the first UN Conference on Oceans in New York (USA) – attended by many governments, world business leaders, scientists and NGOs – WWF called for unprecedented action to achieve the agreed ocean sustainable development goal. This statement supported the call for action issued by member states, acknowledging the serious threats to the ocean from overexploitation and climate change, and the need for much greater ambition..


There has been steady progress in expanding levels of protection of the ocean, but that's not enough. The outcomes of the UN Ocean Conference in New York and the Declaration of the G7 meeting on the Environment in support of the Paris Agreement mark the moment the ocean finally arrived on the main agenda for decision makers from all sectors. This is an opportunity we cannot miss to develop a sustainable blue economy and achieve wellbeing for hundreds of millions of people.

Giuseppe Di Carlo, Leader of WWF's Mediterranean Marine Initiative

Make or break moment for the ocean economy
Trillions of dollars in goods and services, as well as food, countless jobs and intangible benefits are provided by oceans. But much of the asset base that makes all this possible is poorly managed, threatening to undermine the wellbeing of future generations. This is the output from three reports from WWF in cooperation with BCG, summarised on during the UN Ocean Conference in New York. Oceans generate more than US$2.5 trillion in goods and services annually, putting the gross marine product, or GMP, on par with the GDPs of the UK and Germany, according to WWF's report on Ocean Economy published in 2015. Marine and coastal assets have an economic value exceeding US$24 trillion, but these assets are being overexploited and destroyed at an alarming rate. We need to focus on such common building blocks as managing resources for long-term productivity, maintaining key habitats, and tackling climate change.


Notable at this historic ocean conference was the clear recognition of how serious the threats are to the ocean and coasts, from widespread habitat destruction and ecosystem degradation, to overfishing and pollution. By turning the tide today, we can secure food supplies, livelihoods, sustainable economic opportunities and enhanced wellbeing for hundreds of millions of people. The momentum must build from here.

John Tanzer, Leader of WWF International's Oceans Programme

© WWF Mediterranean
WWF new report: most of the fish we eat in the Mediterranean is imported
According to a new WWF report, for every kilo of fish caught or raised in European Mediterranean countries, almost another two kilos are brought in from abroad, mostly from developing countries. Imported fish accounts for nearly 5 million tonnes every year. The Mediterranean used to have more than enough fish for everyone, supporting entire communities. Over the last 50 years, however, increasing industrial fishing methods, poor monitoring and control, illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing, and environmental factors have all taken a heavy toll. Read more.


The situation in the Mediterranean reflects the global crisis in fisheries. We need to better manage our relationship with fish and the oceans, and to embed sustainability at the heart of our seafood markets.

Marco Costantini, Fishery Projects Manager, WWF Mediterranean

See WWF recommendations and tasty recipes created by famous chefs in the WWF Sustainable Seafood guide.

© / Doc White / WWF
WWF & Bolton Alimentari: generating a positive change in tuna production

On 6 June WWF and Bolton Alimentari – Europe’s leader in canned tuna production – announced the launch of an international partnership to improve the sustainability of its business practices and to deliver large-scale impacts to help safeguard our oceans and marine life. With this transformational partnership the company commits to source 100 per cent of its tuna within eight years from MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) certified fisheries or from robust Fishery Improvement Projects aimed at becoming eligible for MSC certification. Bolton has made a similar commitment for other fish species in their supply chain such as salmon, mackerel and sardines. Read more.


This is a huge opportunity to influence the way seafood businesses operate and to generate positive change among global suppliers. By sharing good practices we can inspire other seafood companies to embark on the road to sustainability and contribute to well managed fisheries and healthy oceans.

Alfred Schumm, Leader of WWF´s Smart Fishing Initiative

Declaration to transform Mediterranean fisheries
The Malta MedFish4Ever Declaration on the future of Mediterranean fisheries was signed by Fisheries Ministers from the region in March. It is an ambitious strategic plan to transform the Mediterranean fishing sector and ensure the long-term sustainability and availability of fish stocks on the basis of the best scientific advice available. WWF was a key player in developing the plan, demonstrating that more effective governance for Mediterranean fisheries is possible with the direct participation in decision making of fishermen, NGOs, researchers and administration. Co-management delivers solutions to revert the declining trend of Mediterranean fish stocks. WWF presented their video at a roundtable between stakeholders and Commissioner Vella on small-scale fisheries organized as a side event to the Declaration in La Valletta, Malta.
Read more.
Of assessed fish stocks in the Mediterranean, 93% are
threatened by overfishing 
© WWF Mediterranean
Of assessed fish stocks in the Mediterranean, 93% are threatened by overfishing
© WWF Mediterranean
© Nuno Alves / WWF
P2P exchange to reduce fishing discards
In March two purse seine fishermen from Kavala, Greece, took part in a peer-to-peer (P2P) exchange in Faro, Portugal, as part of the MINOUW Project. With a visit to a fish auction in Olhão, near Faro, and a fishing excursion in Lagos, the Greek fishermen were able to experience first-hand the techniques locals use to minimize unwanted catches. Together with local researchers and WWF, Portuguese and Greek fishermen made the most of the opportunity provided by the exchange for close collaboration and knowledge-sharing. WWF is leading a Fisheries Improvement Project in Kavala with the local purse seine fleet and key stakeholders, aiming to have the first fleet in the Mediterranean to reach MSC standards, as well as certification. Read more.
Cyclades Life: important steps towards sustainability in Gyaros
Gyaros, a biodiversity hotspot at the heart of the Aegean Archipelago, is soon to become the first marine protected area in Greece. Under the Cyclades Life project, professional fishermen from adjacent islands, with scientists, local and state government, NGOs and entrepreneurs have formed the Consortium of Stakeholders of Gyaros, The Consortium, coordinated by WWF, is the first of its kind in Greece; it recently reached a critical milestone, designing a zoning system and deciding upon conservation measures and sustainable activities for the islet. Read more.
Gyaros, Greece.

© G. Stefanou / WWF Greece

WWF launches Ocean CleanUp fellowship
Every year, according to the World Economic Forum, 8 million tonnes of plastic is poured into the world’s oceans. In response to this crisis WWF Italy has launched a fellowship to identify innovative solutions for the collection and reuse of waste materials that today pollute the Mediterranean. This is the first competition ever in Italy to call for projects aimed at reducing the impact of plastics and other waste materials on the region’s marine and coastal ecosystems. WWF and Impact Hub Milan together with Bvlgari launched the Impact Hub fellowship on Ocean CleanUp in May. Read more.
Loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) trapped in a drifting abandoned net, Mediterranean Sea.

© / Jordi Chias / WWF

Setting free a marine turtle, Policoro. rel= © Oasi WWF Policoro Heracleia

WWF marine campaign champions sea turtles

WWF Italy’s marine campaign #GenerAzione Mare  was launched on the eve of World Ocean Day with a live streaming initiative. Eleven witnesses of excellence – researchers, fishers, volunteers, businesses, athletes, protected area managers – presented their experiences in defence of the sea. #GenerAzione Mare then moved to the field with more than 30 events and 200 activists who spent the day cleaning beaches and raising awareness on sea turtles and other vulnerable species. Read more.

16 June, World Sea Turtle Day 2017.
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