Ocean Action Hub

On 15 July, the World Trade Organization (WTO) held a ministerial meeting on fisheries subsidies, which confirmed the commitment to set the course for a successful outcome on negotiations before the WTO’s Ministerial Conference starting in November 2021.

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WTO members edged closer today (15 July) to an agreement which would set new rules for the global fisheries industry and limit government subsidies contributing to unsustainable fishing and the depletion of global fish stocks.

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Coastal ecosystems such as mangroves, tidal marshes and seagrasses play a significant role as carbon sinks in the fight against climate change. They sequester and store large quantities of carbon in both the plants and the sediment below. Conservation and restoration of coastal ecosystems has the potential to help mitigate climate change while supporting many countries’ adaptation efforts and contributing to their sustainable development goals. 

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Marine mammals play a crucial role in marine ecosystem function and climate change resilience by sequestering carbon through the consumption of energy rich plankton and fish. They provide valuable ecosystem services such as ecotourism. Conserving marine mammals provides significant economic, social and cultural benefits to coastal communities.

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In this issue, read the following feature stories, as well as other related documents and reports, events and opportunities, on the ocean:

  1. SIDS take the “blue” route as 63-year record-high global CO2 emissions set to impact the oceans
  2. New report suggests that more destructive ocean waves are attributed to the oceans absorbing 90% of the planet's heat
  3. A 20% increase in observer coverage assisted by electronic monitoring (EM) programs can improve the sustainability of tuna fisheries
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G7 leaders recently announced that “our world must not only become net zero, but also nature positive, for the benefit of both people and the planet.”

Nature positive is a disruptive idea and it is a new business model based on regeneration, resilience and recirculation – not destruction and pollution.

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Policymakers and experts call on UNCTAD to play a leading role in research, finance and technical assistance to conserve and sustainably use the ocean, seas and marine resources.

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Gathering more than 2000 participants and viewers online, the UNDP World Oceans Day 2021 event “A Conversation with the 2020 UNDP Ocean Innovators” highlighted a suite of inspirational ocean protection and restoration projects the UNDP is supporting through the Ocean Innovation Challenge.

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The quest to compile the definitive map of Earth's ocean floor has edged a little nearer to completion. Modern measurements of the depth and shape of the seabed now encompass 20.6% of the total area under water.

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Story highlights

  • Much of the ocean is fished by multinational corporations and their subsidiaries and suppliers. Questions remain over their sense of stewardship
  • A team of scientists, industry experts and civil society representatives analysed the sustainable seafood movement of the past 50 years
  • They identified four dimensions in which efforts by actors within the seafood industry have aligned with theoretical concepts of stewardship
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Paris, 8 June – In the context of global celebrations for World Oceans Day, UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission announced the first Actions officially endorsed as part of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, 2021-2030 (the ‘Ocean Decade’).

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