Ocean Conservation

The ocean plays an essential role in regulating the Earth's climate - it stores carbon, generates oxygen, houses marine species and is a source of food and income for billions of people. Yet pollution, global warming and overfishing have wreaked havoc on marine ecosystems.

There are now 5.25 trillion macro and micro pieces of plastic in our oceans and another 8 million are released every day, killing 100,000 marine mammals and turtles and 1 million seabirds every year. Some estimates predict that more than 90% of the ocean's top predators were wiped out in the last 55 years.

Rising CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels have initiated a process of acidification, bleaching and killing almost 30% of coral reefs worldwide and threatening 25% of all marine species who rely on coral reefs as their habitat. The availability of fish has already started declining as a result of these processes, with climate-induced losses reaching highs of 35% in the North Sea.

Henley Spiers

2 Charities

Tythe supports these ocean conservation charities, selected by experts because of their high impact.

Blue marine

Blue Marine Foundation

·Global
bluemarinefoundation.com

Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE) is dedicated to restoring the ocean to health, using a combination of top-down interventions to improve governance of our seas and bottom-up project delivery to help local communities at the front line of ocean conservation.

Areas of intervention

  • Marine protected areas (MPAs) - Securing MPAs will ensure the protection of 30% of the ocean by 2030. BLUE is also restoring those habitats to help revive vulnerable species and sequester carbon.
  • Sustainable fishing - BLUE's development of sustainable models, alongside their highlighting of poor practices, is proving that low-impact fishing benefits marine life as well as local fishers and communities.

Achievements

  • Secured commitments to protect over 4 million km2 of ocean. This includes 100% of the waters around Ascension Island - the largest fully protected marine reserve in the Atlantic.
  • In 2019 electric pulse fishing was banned in EU waters after BLUE's campaigning
  • BLUE has released millions of oyster larvae into UK waters which is improving water quality and attracting declining species such as sea bass back into the ecosystem.

Surfers Against Sewage

·UK
sas.org.uk

Founded in the 80s by a group of surfers concerned about water quality, Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) has been at the forefront of tackling ocean plastic pollution for the last decade. Their conservation and campaigning work is having a positive impact on the health of our oceans, beaches, waves and wildlife, as well as engaging a large number of volunteers in the cause.

Areas of intervention

  • Policy. SAS puts pressure on politicians, both through the all-party parliamentary group for ocean conservation which they created, and through their active involvement in The Climate Coalition.

  • Grassroots. SAS empowers communities to improve their local areas, and inspires the next generation through a schools programme.

Achievements

  • Their "message in a bottle" campaign led to the UK government's planned introduction of a bottle return scheme by 2023, similar to what they have in Germany.
  • The Climate Coalition influenced the UK governement's decisions to phase out coal power stations and ratify the Paris Climate Agreement.
  • SAS organises and provides equipment for 2,000 beach cleans each year, involving 100,000 volunteers.
  • SAS has empowered 700+ communities to work towards becoming plastic free.
  • 99% of designated bathing waters around the UK are now classified as "sufficiently hygienic", up from 27% in 1990.
References

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