This is a tall order, especially in the light of our failure to deliver on past promises. The failure is mostly due to conflicts with industrial fishing interests and other extractive industries which are lobbying hard for a free hand to appropriate profits privately, while the rapidly growing costs are being picked up by various publics, with the most vulnerable groups in all countries bearing the brunt - be it in threatened or lost livelihoods in artisanal professions or deaths in the pandemic. There is no squaring of the circle and reconciling a sad expansion of offshore oil and gas licencing in Norway with the demonstrated urgency of more, not less ocean protection. How to avoid just pitching one interest against another with the foregone conclusion that the most powerful short-term interest groups carry the day? An open access Nature paper by Enric Sala and collaborators explores how to minimise trade-offs through a comprehensive conservation planning framework focused on achieving multiple objectives: biodiversity protection, food provisioning and carbon storage. The authors find that a globally coordinated effort could be nearly twice as efficient as uncoordinated, national-level conservation planning.
The conferences of the parties to the biodiversity convention in Kunming in October (COP15) and to the climate change convention in Glasgow in November 2021 (COP26) on the road to the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon in June 2022 should help make decisive progress using such analyses and engaging with as broad-based public participation as possible for maximum legitimacy of the results.
Meanwhile, we encourage our readers to join the effort. While high-level discussions and goals are important, the work being done at local level, by organisations such as Mundus maris, is equally important to educate, change attitudes, and work along-side small fishing communities to enact change. Support our work - by donating time, resources, or money.
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Cornelia E. Nauen and the entire Mundus maris team