Global Ocean Commission calls for 5-year deadline to save oceans from overfishing, pollution

Report warns that urgent action needed; stresses on establishing greater international cooperation
Global Ocean Commission calls for 5-year deadline to save oceans from overfishing, pollution

The Global Ocean Commission, an independent international organisation launched in February last year, has called for swift action against threats to oceans such as pollution and overfishing.

The report, titled “From Decline to Recovery: A Rescue Package for the Global Ocean”, lists five drivers of ocean decline such as the rising demand for resources, technological advances and decline of fish stocks.

The 17 member commission, an initiative of the Pew Charitable Trusts and University of Oxford and two other organisations, spent 18 months researching the causes of decline of the oceans as well as eight comprehensive proposals for action to set the high seas on a path to recovery.

This report comes in the wake of the Obama administration calling for an elaborate plan for marine conservation and seeks to increase the role of the United Nations in alleviating illegal activities such as the global pirate fishing.  

What the report recommends

- About 10 million tonnes of fish worth $16 billion, from tuna to molluscs, caught every year in the high seas out of a global fish catch of 80 million tonnes

- Subsidies for fishing in international waters to be capped immediately and eliminated within five years

- Setting a UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) for the ocean with specific targets that include reduction of quantities of plastic debris entering the marine environment by 50 per cent

- Mandatory requirements by International Maritime Organization (IMO) for tracking, which is already in place for merchant vessels, to be extended to all fishing vessels fishing in the high seas

- Development of an international liability convention to cover damage by offshore oil and gas installations

- Universal ratification of United Nations Convention on Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the UN Fish Stocks Agreement (UNFSA) of 1995

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