Network of Women in Marine Science

A message from the WiMS Chair on World Ocean’s day

Today, on World Ocean’s day 2020, we would like to share the message below from the Chair of WiMS, Veronica Bristol! 

Today, we celebrate the World Oceans Day. However, it is also a time of reflection as an individual, community, and society as a whole towards the protection and sustainable exploitation of our seas and oceans.

The protection of our ocean is everyone business, hence it is the responsibilities of every African country in the Western Indian Ocean.

Over 80% of today’s international goods are transported in vessels and over 90% of Africa’s imports and exports are carried through the seas. Over the past four decades, the volume of global sea borne trade has more than quadrupled. Ninety percent (90%) of world trade and two-thirds (2/3) of energy supplies are carried by sea.

The world’s Oceans and Seas are interlinked, and action in one sea or one policy area with a direct or indirect impact on the sea may have direct impact on the seas and policy areas.

Fish makes a vital contribution to the food and nutritional security of over 200 million Africans and provides income for over 10 million men and women predominantly engaged in often vibrant artisanal fisheries.

Healthy and productive coastal and marine ecosystems play a significant role in mitigating the impacts of climate change as they can serve as carbon sinks, with mangroves and sea-grass areas topping most others.

Protecting these ecosystems and recovering lost productivity also makes good economic sense for fishing communities and entire countries as research presented in 2019 at the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA) symposium demonstrated again. Phasing out harmful subsidies to international industrial fleets in the WTO could help African states ensures a level playing field and largely reduce widespread overfishing of their waters.

Supporting better waste management and coastal planning would go a long way to reduce dumping of plastic in our water as this has serious consequences on marine life and affects the seafood we eat.

Investing in marine protection and sustainable use is an excellent way to reap the benefits of our oceans.

Together we can!