St Julian's, MALTA (6 October 2017) – WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) announced three new commitments to saving the world’s oceans at the Our Ocean conference in Malta.
Our Ocean brings together Heads of State and Ministers, other government officials, scientists, business leaders, and non-governmental organizations to address the challenges facing the ocean today and turn ideas into action by making concrete commitments to conserve the ocean. Since 2014, more than 250 such commitments have been made.
This year, WCS announced these commitments:
The world’s oceans are in trouble. Climate change is warming the seas and altering their composition, resulting in broad impacts from rising seas, acidification, dying coral reefs, and invasive species. Illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing is decimating fish stocks relied upon for food security for billions of people. Pollution from accumulated plastic waste and resource extraction threatens marine wildlife and people alike.
WCS President and CEO Cristan Samper said: “The hopeful news emanating from Malta this week is that the positive actions add up to progress. The commitments being made this week at Our Ocean represent concrete steps toward a sustainable ocean, healthy marine wildlife populations, and a healthier planet.”
Last year, the WCS joined the Waitt Foundation, the blue moon fund, and the Global Environment Facility in committing $48 million at Our Ocean 2016 to expand the world’s marine protected areas (MPAs). The commitment focuses on marine ecosystems with high value in biodiversity and ecosystem services for coastal economies and people. Since launching last year, it has begun funding MPA initiatives in 19 countries. This work reinforces WCS’s focus on small scale fisheries, MPAs, local communities, and key marine wildlife species that include cetaceans, sharks, and rays.