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Positive ocean news: June '24 edition

5 minute read

We celebrate the good news for our seas with a round-up of positive ocean stories from this month.

Young people create ocean artwork to raise awareness on World Ocean Day

Youth ocean network world ocean day artwork

Credit: Sudheha Amerasinghe

The Marine Conservation Society’s Youth Ocean Network celebrated World Ocean Day (8th June) by holding a youth event in London, which included talks, workshops and the creation of a collaborative piece of artwork to highlight the power of collective action for the ocean.

Young people aged 13-25 came together from across the UK for the event, which aimed to raise awareness of issues facing the ocean and encourage young people to take positive action.

Members from the Youth Ocean Network discussed their experiences in nature, and what they feel they, as young people today, can do to help our blue planet. They then created a piece of artwork, combining individual fish that network members had made especially.

Elle, who was involved in organising the event, said: “Our vision for this piece is a visual reminder that ‘you are not a drop in the ocean. You are an entire ocean in a drop’ (Rumi). By bringing together lots of fish crafted by the Youth Ocean Network, we highlighted that we can use our individual actions to make a big difference.”

There are plans to finalise and display the artwork in the months to come.

Find out more about the Youth Ocean Network.

Hundreds join rally to call for ocean action

RNN march placards - Gareth and Jennifer

Credit: Irene Cantizano

On Saturday the 22nd of June, thousands took to the streets of London to take part in the Restore Nature Now rally, urging political leaders to tackle the UK’s wildlife crisis. Among them were ocean charities, such as the Marine Conservation Society, whose staff and supporters sought to ensure the ocean was not forgotten.

Brandishing a hand-made banner created by the charity’s Youth Ocean Network and placards reflecting the charity’s calls for the next UK Government to restore the ocean by turning the tide on pollution, investing in the sea and reviving marine life, the Marine Conservation Society elevated the ocean’s profile in nature discussions.

Read more in our latest news.

Peru approves marine protected area following decade of negotiations

Manta ray and fish swimming

Credit: Adam Juman

Peru’s Council of Ministers has approved the creation of the Grau Tropical Sea National Reserve, protecting 285,840 acres of sea.

The area boasts rich biodiversity and was ranked by the IUCN as one of the 70 most important places for marine biodiversity conservation in the world. Humpback whales, critically endangered hammerhead sharks, manta rays, marine turtles and an array of fish species can all be found in the Grau Sea. Dozens of previously unknown species have also been discovered here.

The news is welcomed by scientists, conservationists and artisanal fishers, who have been calling for the area’s protection since 2010. It's hoped that the reserve will conserve an array of marine life and help monitor, limit and prevent illegal fishing activity.

Read more on the Mongabay website

8 in 10 UK adults in favour of bottom trawling ban

8 in 10 adults in the UK (81%) believe that bottom trawl fishing should be banned in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), a new poll has found.

Billy Arthur - Curled Octopus

Credit: Billy Arthur

Bottom-trawling involves dragging weighted nets across the bottom of the seabed, damaging the species and habitats the MPA is designed to protect.

Respondents, including those from coastal communities, said that they felt ‘angry’ and ‘disappointed’ that the harmful practice is permitted in most marine havens, highlighting the public's desire to protect the UK's vital ocean habitats.

Banning bottom trawling in MPAs has proven benefits, including financial ones. Healthy seas and ecosystems would also provide vital support in climate regulation, clean water, carbon capture and protection against extreme natural events.

Hugo Tagholm, Executive Director of Oceana UK which commissioned the poll, said “The UK is an ocean nation and our waters have provided prosperity, food, a stable climate and a deep connection to nature for millennia …The absolute minimum we can do is give real protection to our so-called protected areas.”

Read more on the Oceanographic website

New tiles may help slow European eel population decline

European (Common) Eel

Credit: Paul Naylor

Researchers have developed new tiles which make swimming upstream easier for European eels, potentially preventing slowing the critically endangered species’ rate of decline.

More than one billion European eels migrate to Europe’s shores each year, but navigating the UK’s streams and rivers is difficult for the young creatures as they have to swim against the current – something that requires a lot of effort and energy.

To make the young eels’ journey easier, scientists from Cardiff University have created textured tiles which slow the flow of water, allowing the eels to rest and conserve energy as they seek out feeding grounds.

It’s thought that the tiles could help reconnect the UK’s waterways – with barriers and obstacles like dams and weirs posing further difficulties and reducing habitat availability for the eels – and ultimately help reduce population decline. They’re cheap and easily installed, offering hope to the future of this vulnerable species.

Read more on the Independent website

Indonesian fishers take action on illegal and destructive fishing

Fishing boats Indonesian sea

Credit: Denissa Devy

Concerned about the impacts of destructive fishing on marine ecosystems and coastal communities, local fishers in Indonesia decided to take action to protect them, and their livelihoods.

With growing demand for seafood driving fishers to use destructive gear such as trawl nets, potassium cyanide, and explosives to catch fish, local fishers came together to form groups to patrol their waters and monitor illegal and destructive fishing taking place.

These community-led groups resulted in the creation of Pokmaswas, Indonesia’s volunteer patrol network of 3,500 groups, which helps protect the country’s seas and coastline.

The country’s fisheries ministry, experts and local authorities have praised the work of the volunteers and highlighted how important it is, evidencing the power of community-led and volunteering efforts. The government has increased financial support for Pokmaswas groups and is providing training and resources to strengthen and develop them further.

Read more on the Mongabay website

Colorado used 1.5 billion fewer carrier bags after one year of 10₵ levy

Plastic bags in the ocean Rich Carey

Credit: Rich Carey via Shutterstock

1.5 billion fewer single plastic and paper bags in Colorado, USA, have been used since the introduction of a 10₵ charge in 2023.

The levy was implemented as part of the Plastic Pollution Reduction Act, and it was hoped the move would encourage a transition to reusable bags and reduce the harm caused by plastic bags in the natural environment.

Although the average lifespan of a plastic carrier bag is estimated to be around 12 minutes, the petroleum-based plastic material they’re made from takes hundreds of years to biodegrade.

The reduction of 1.5 billion carrier bags is great news for the ocean, where many discarded bags end up, posing a threat to marine life and ecosystems.

Read more on the Good News Network website

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