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Is The World Ready To Protect Our Ocean?

November 2004 - MarineBio
» Marine Conservation Home

For the ocean to recover from more than 50 years of worldwide daily abuse from overfishing and pollution from a million sources, stronger measures need to be taken on a global scale and enforced on a global level. MarineBio poses the question: What if the following policies were put into place?

Global Sustainable Fishing Plan

All fisheries to begin fishing sustainably starting immediately. All companies worldwide must get approval of submitted sustainable fishing plans no later than 30 days before the start of the next fishing year from the Global Ocean Commission—a new top-level group to be created, similar to or a combination of:

with world-elected officials and world-wide enforcement power.

Any company found operating without an approved sustainable fishing plan will be fined $1 million per active ship which will then be confiscated and sold at auction with proceeds going to the UN Ocean Commission.

Needed:

    1. worldwide acceptance of the idea
    2. worldwide compliance with the idea
    3. creation of the UN Ocean Commission and staffing with experts capable of producing the above said documents, worldwide offices and teams equipped to monitor fishing efforts, check plan compliance on a ship by ship basis, conduct and gather the research necessary to define what sustainable fishing really is, enforce fines/seizures and collect them, etc.

Fishing companies in compliance would benefit in the following ways:

    1. they would be helping to secure their own future
    2. they could market themselves as pro-ocean/marine life providing safe, healthy seafood to humans
    3. they would not have to pay fines or lose ships

UN Acceptable Pollution Plan?

Effective immediately, every coastal state or country must monitor and correct pollutants found in all effluents from their territory to the ocean (including their offshore sources - ocean dumping, oil rigs and ships, etc.) which exceed levels stated in the UN Ocean Commission's Acceptable Pollution Plan. The acceptable levels are to be determined by two factors,

    1. the gross amount of effluent reaching the ocean, and
    2. the ocean area effected in relation to total coastal percentage.

Acceptable Pollution Plan documents would detail acceptable levels for point source sampling, solutions for identifying sources of and correcting excessive pollutants identified, calculations for gross effluents, total state or country pollution levels calculation, state or country acceptable pollution levels, sampling methods and frequencies, and Acceptable Pollution Plan results document for submittal.

Annual submittal is due 30 days before January 1st of each year. Each state or country not submitting a plan or found not to be in compliance with the UN Ocean Commission's Acceptable Pollution Plan will be fined $1 million per day until the plan is received. All states or countries found exceeding the levels outlined in the Acceptable Pollution Plan after the first 2 years, will be fined $1 million per ppm (parts per million = mg/l or mg/kg) of each pollutant over the defined maximum levels. All proceeds will go toward the UN Ocean Commission's Acceptable Pollution Plan program.

Needed:

    1. worldwide acceptance of the idea
    2. worldwide compliance with the idea
    3. a UN Ocean Commission as above with similar goals outlined by the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy's Final Report but with global reach and enforcement power (working with each country's equivalent to the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy). Staffed with experts capable of producing the above said documents, worldwide offices and teams equipped to supervise pollution monitoring efforts, check plan compliance on a country by country basis, conduct and gather the research necessary to define what acceptable pollution levels are from a global and ecosystem perspective, enforce fines and collect them, etc. Fisheries monitoring and pollution monitoring teams could even work together.

Countries in compliance would benefit in the following ways:

    1. they would be helping to secure their own future
    2. they would save money by avoiding fines
    3. they could market themselves as pro-earth
    4. their citizens would be healthier and therefore happier leading to increased productivity, etc.

What do you think? Sure it's idealistic and simplistic but if it were possible it would greatly improve things for our species as well as others. That's about what it would take to fix what we've done and to protect what we have left for our future in our opinion. And the U.S. would have to start it before the rest of the world will follow because we are the global economic leader and the very top polluter. The time for the world to be ready is now, the supporting evidence is overwhelming.

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