To celebrate national Marine Week, the World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature launched an Ocean and Marine Report which outlines the state of the oceans economy. The report launched on the 12 of October in Cape Town, collates the findings of relevant research from across multiple sectors, offers a snapshot of the state of South Africa’s oceans in 2016.
“The report highlights both the socioeconomic value of the goods and services provided by the ocean and some of the key ecological trends and indicators,” according to WWF, South Africa, 2016.
At the launch, Trevor Manuel, who was the keynote speaker said that South Africa has a great science but not enough activism in all of what happens at sea. “We need to inspire young people to take an interest in our oceans’ future and continue the passion,” he said.
South Africa’s marine resources are currently overexploited, which results in a loss of potential food protein, livelihoods and income, as well the loss of the traditional fishing culture associated with South Africa’s coastal communities.
According to WWF South Africa’s rich and productive coastal waters support thousands of jobs and contribute millions of rand to the national economy each year, with coastal goods and services estimated to contribute 35% to South Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP).
“We need to work more closely between government, civil society and other stakeholders to make improvements,” commented WWF’s Theressa Frantz.
According to the report Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in particular has destroyed many of the once abundant inshore fish stocks.
“High value abalone and West Coast rock lobster fisheries present some of the most severe challenges – and existing controls cannot balance the powerful social, political and economic factors fuelling high levels of illegal fishing”.
“We need to consider not just what we extract from the oceans but what we leave behind,” Manuel commented further.
The report was released by WWF on Thursday, 14 October and you can read it here: http://awsassets.wwf.org.za/downloads/wwf_oceans_facts_and_futures_report_oct16.pdf