University of Western Australia: Taking action to save our blue planet on World Oceans Day

Choosing fish that are sustainably caught and reducing our use of plastics are two ways we can help protect and restore our blue planet on World Oceans Day tomorrow (June 8) according to marine scientist Dr Chris Thompson.

Dr Thompson, National Geographic Pristine Seas Postdoctoral Research Fellow from The University of Western Australia’s Marine Futures Lab and School of Biological Sciences, said a lot could be done to save our oceans including sustainable management and conservation.

“People can use their voices and their votes to help enact policies — we can write to our ministers and make our voices heard on issues we care about,” he said.

The Pristine Seas project was launched in 2008 to explore and help inspire the protection of the last wild places in the ocean and Dr Thompson has been working with the team since 2015.

“The Pristine Seas team have helped inform to protect vital waters by working with communities, local stakeholders and policymakers,” he said.

“Since the project began it has helped protect 26 marine reserves which includes over 6.5 million square kilometres of our oceans.”

This year’s theme for World Oceans Day is revitalisation: collective action for the ocean. This aligns with the 30 by 30 initiative that aims to protect 30 per cent of the planet by 2030. More than 100 countries are signatories to the initiative which has long-term benefits of climate resilience, biodiversity protection and food security.

“The ocean has amazing resilience if it’s given the opportunity to recover. But where we have multiple stressors, it becomes really hard for that to happen,” he said.

“Overfishing, pollution and climate change all have a big impact on the health of the ocean and if these all happen together it is a huge problem.

“If we can remove the impacts it gives the area a chance to rebound. Where marine parks are given time to recover, we can see an improvement of up to 500 per cent in the biomass of fish.”

To help save our oceans, Dr Thompson is encouraging people to choose fish that are sustainably caught and reduce pollution, such as carbon output and plastic waste.