Mundus maris newsletter: March 2021
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Dear <<First Name>>,

the science is clear: ocean protection is crucial for biodiversity, our climate, and continuous food security for many. Mundus maris continues to work tirelessly with scientists and local fishing communities to promote ocean health and safer practices. In anticipation for World Ocean Day, 8 June, we are inviting participants to join in our annual Mundus maris Award under the UN's pertinent motto of “The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods”. It’s among the myriad small steps that need to come together to shift the big picture. Connect to the ocean and help to protect our common home.

Hard-won progress has been made in some areas, but all too often the targets are missed. For example, parties to the Convention of Biological Diversity agreed to protect 17% of all lands and 10% of the oceans by 2020, but only 15% of land and 7% of oceans were declared or announced as protected. Worse, the highly protected marine areas are closer to 2.7%.

Negotiations are underway at the UN to protect at least 30% of the ocean and a global campaign is gaining momentum to protect 30% of the land and the ocean by 2030 from all human activity, the so-called 30x30 target. This target was backed by a High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy comprising the Heads of State of 14 coastal countries, including Indonesia, Ghana and Norway.

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.

Mundus maris asbl, Belfius Bank, Rue de Linthout 224, 1040 Brussels, Belgium

IBAN: BE54 0688 9178 6297 BIC: GKCCBEBB

Contact us any time at

Cornelia E. Nauen and the entire Mundus maris team

Support our work with a donation

Activities around the world

Catching-up - SSF Academy in Yoff meets up again

After more than one year without presential trainings of the Small-Scale Fisheries Academy due to the covid-19 pandemic a catching-up workshop was convened with some precautionary measures in Yoff, Saturday, 27 February 2021. This not only helped to reconnect and exchange about what had happened in the meantime with the annual workplans of Academy learners, but it was also an opportunity to try the feasibility of a mixed working method with co-facilitation on the spot and remotely. The results were more than worthwhile.

More information

Coexistence of legal and illegal supply chains - V2V thematic webinar

The monthly thematic webinar of the V2V research partnership about exploring ways to lead small- scale fisheries from vulnerability to viability, on 27 March 2021, Ingrid van Putten of CSIRO in Australia shared research results into the marketing of four major marine commodities from the so-called Treaty villages in Papua New Guinea. Lack of information, skills and support systems for communities in the coastal villages of Torres Strait mean that swimbladders of Barramundi and Jewfish, dried bêche de mer and shark fins produced by men and live mud crabs caught by women fetch low prices.

Read on

Mundus maris at the SWAIMS webinar on “Curbing maritime insecurity in the Niger Delta”

SWAIMS, the Regional Programme "Support to West Africa Integrated Maritime Security", headquartered in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, focused it's webinar on 31 March 2021 on "Curbing Maritime Insecurity in the Niger Delta". One of the speakers invited in the occasion of this exchange with civil society organisations was Prof. Stella Williams, Vice President of Mundus maris, who spoke on the topic of Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and its effect on small-scale fisheries.

Read more

Join the High Level Event on SDG 14

The virtual High Level SDG 14 Event “Marine Conservation: An urgent task for international development cooperation” on 15 April will help to bring the ocean agenda forward and place a healthier and more resilient ocean higher on national and international political agendas. The #SDG14 Event will bring together development partners from Germany, Sweden and France and experts from science, civil society, multilateral organisations, potential partners and a public audience to discuss needs to achieve SDG 14 “Life below Water” and announce the new Blue Action Fund Call for Project Proposals.

Join us & register
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