MCS President gives keynote speech at international ocean conference

By: Clare Fischer
Date posted: 5 October 2017

MCS President, the Prince of Wales, has told a major global marine conference that the growing threat to the world’s marine ecology has reached a critical point where plastics are “now on the menu”.

© Tinunanek

His Royal Highness was giving the keynote speech at the Our Ocean conference being staged in Malta to address the themes of marine protected areas, sustainable fisheries, marine pollution, and climate change.

The Prince, who’s been MCS President for over 30 years, highlighted how the material is increasingly found in fish caught for the dinner table – a worsening issue that some researchers claim will lead to the sea containing more plastics than fish, by weight, by 2050.

Prince Charles told the conference the irreversible damage to the Great Barrier Reef is a “serious wake-up call” for nations, and what is needed is a circular economy which allows plastics to be “recovered, recycled and reused instead of created, used and then thrown away”.

Charles told delegates: “As many of you know so well, the eight million tonnes of plastic that enter the sea every year - through our own doing I might add - is now almost ubiquitous.

“For all the plastic that we have produced since the 1950s that has ended up in the ocean is still with us in one form or another, so that wherever you swim there are particles of plastic near you and we are very close to reaching the point when whatever wild-caught fish you eat will contain plastic.”

The European Union is hosting the fourth edition of the Our Ocean Conference which aims to encourage joint solutions and gather ambitious commitments to conserve and sustainably use the oceans.

More than 40 ministers and other leaders from at least 100 countries are expected to attend the meeting and to announce substantial and concrete pledges. Among other conference speakers will be Prince Albert II of Monaco, actor Adrian Grenier, known for his role in the series Entourage and Queen Noor of Jordan Is also expected to attend.

The conference will also hear a pledge from media giant Sky to remove all single-use plastics from its operations, products and supply chain by 2020.

The company will also invest £25m in an Ocean Rescue Innovation Fund to help start-ups and other businesses develop technology that eradicates single-use plastics and stops the material ending up in the sea.

Previous Our Ocean conferences have seen a wide range of commitments agreed by nations and billions of pounds pledged.

Actions you can take

  1. Help stop the plastic tide
  2. Download the Great British Beach Clean Report 2019

Did you know?…

Over time, one plastic bottle bobbing along in the ocean can break down in to hundreds of tiny plastic pieces

To date, our beach cleans have removed over 11 million pieces of litter

Plastic has been found in the stomachs of almost all marine species including fish, birds, whales, dolphins, seals and turtles