Each year on the June 8th, we share our love for the oceans, and all the oceans do for people, as World Oceans Day is a day dedicated to celebrating the world’s oceans, their amazing diversity and the critical role they play in sustaining life on land.
A healthy world for humans depends on healthy oceans. We can no longer enjoy the luxury of talking about marine conservation in terms of the benefit to our children and grandchildren – Caring for the health of our oceans is essential for our health, now.
This year on World Oceans Day SAAMBR is highlighting one of the best ways that we can use to protect the oceans and help people – through supporting our marine protected areas. Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are like game reserves in the ocean. They are areas of the coast or ocean that are specially protected to help people. Protected areas help people by keeping fisheries sustainable, keeping marine ecosystems functional and protecting our natural and cultural heritage of plants, animals and special places for ourselves and our children. Just as on land, protected areas in the ocean are critical for the conservation of an amazing variety of marine plants, animals and ecosystems. Through careful planning, 5% of South Africa’s ocean is now protected, including about 87% of South Africa’s different marine ecosystems and habitats. This is something to really celebrate this World Oceans Day.
SAAMBR and MPAs
SAAMBR, through our scientists based at the Oceanographic Research Institute have, since the early 1970s, been working towards the protection of special marine and coastal areas on the east coast of South Africa. Many of these places are now proclaimed (Marine Protected Areas) MPAs. Our ongoing research is proving the value of these MPAs to biodiversity conservation and people.
As we cannot celebrate together – this year we have some special celebrations planned on line.
- Many of our scientists are sharing their career advice to budding young marine biologists via a series of short videos on our FaceBook Page and on our website.
- We have a photo competition on Instagram. This is the perfect place to share your favourite ocean photo.
- On Social Media we will be sharing a lovely video of kids sharing ‘What the ocean means to them.’
- We will be sharing our new World Oceans Day Fact Sheets via Social Media.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO SUPPORT MARINE PROTECTED AREAS?
Learn what you can about them. Visit the SAAMBR Website for a great set of Fact Sheets about Marine Protected Areas and the many creatures that live in the ocean, visit https://www.saambr.org.za/marine-protected-areas-mpas/ or https://www.saambr.org.za/environmental-awareness-days/
Visit a local MPAs and share your knowledge and passion for our oceans with your family and friends. OR you can take a virtual tour of all our marine protected areas here. https://www.marineprotectedareas.org.za/
If you are a fisherman make sure that you obey the regulations in the MPAs. For more details on these go to https://www.saambr.org.za/marine-protected-areas-mpas/