This week, the 7th edition of the Our Ocean Conference took place in Palau (Oceania), on 13 and 14 April 2022, organized by the Republic of Palau and the United States. The Conference is a key moment for countries, civil society, and industry from across the globe to convene, identify and commit to concrete and significant actions to manage marine resources, increase the ocean’s resilience to climate change and safeguard its health for generations to come. Our Ocean focused on six Areas of Action: Marine Protected Areas, marine pollution, climate change, Blue Economy, fisheries, and a safe, just and secure Ocean.
Charlina Vitcheva, European Commission Director-General of the Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, spoke in the panel ‘Toward a “Super Year” for the Ocean: Leadership and Action’. She recognized 2022 already being a super year for the Ocean with three key conferences (the Our Ocean Conference 2022 in Palau, the past One Ocean Summit in Brest, France, and the upcoming 2022 UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon, Portugal), but stressed that the Ocean still needs our united efforts to meet Sustainable Development Goal 14 i.e., Life Below Water. The European Union (EU) takes its responsibility, she concluded, towards achieving a healthy and sustainable Ocean by making available 1 billion Euro of resources and incorporating the Ocean in many European policies, including, among others, the Common Fisheries Policy, Integrated Maritime Policy, Marine Strategy Framework Directive, EU Environmental Policies and Zero Pollution Action Plan. In addition, she referred to the International Ocean Governance (IOG) Forum to assess development needs and options for action in light of today’s challenges and opportunities in international ocean governance and to the EU Mission 'Restore our Ocean and Waters'.
Did you know that one of the objectives of the Zero Pollution Action Plan is to reduce plastic litter at sea by 50% by 2030? The Map of the Week shows that plastic material is polluting our shores and the Ocean. The plastic pollution does not just clutter our beaches, it forms a deadly trap for many marine animals. They get tangled up in larger pieces of plastic or mistake smaller pieces for food. This map shows the density of plastic bags at the seafloor expressed as the number of bags collected by fish-trawl surveys over one year period. Note that the absence of collected data in some areas does not mean they are free from plastic bags. As part of its plastics strategy, the EU adopted a directive to restrict the use of several disposable plastic products and fishing gear. In addition, it also adopted a directive on port reception facilities for the delivery of waste from ships.
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The data in this map are provided by EMODnet.