The ocean covers more than 70% of the Earth’s surface, supports billions of livelihoods worldwide, and provides more than half the oxygen we breathe through phytoplankton. The oceans are under a lot of pressure from illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing and unsustainable fishing practices, marine debris and plastic litter, bycatch, and derelict fishing gear. #WorldOceansDay #Innovate4Oceans
As President Trump noted in his proclamation:
Our ocean and coastal waterways are essential to our national security, international trade, maritime commerce, global competitiveness, and transportation. The jobs of more than 3 million Americans depend on our ocean economy, which generates more than $300 billion of economic activity annually. During National Ocean Month, we reaffirm our commitment to responsible stewardship of our ocean resources to strengthen and expand economic opportunities, while also ensuring that the natural beauty and wonder of the oceans are preserved and maintained for future generations.
Bycatch is the capture or entanglement of non-target marine species in fishing gear, including sea turtles, seabirds, dolphins, and whales. It is the greatest cause of marine mammal injury and death. Once entangled, marine species can suffer from limited mobility, suffocation, and extreme fatigue. In the United States, the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) seeks to address this issue through science, gear research, and restrictions on fishing gear and practices. Learn more about this problem by visiting: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/topic/bycatch
DISCARDED FISHING GEAR
Abandoned, lost, or otherwise discarded fishing gear threaten the marvels of #OurOcean. This lost and discarded gear is dangerous because it continues to trap and kill fish, crustaceans, marine mammals, sea turtles, and sea birds –a process known as “ghost fishing.” The United States lead a process to adopt global Voluntary Guidelines on the Marking of Fishing Gear for monitoring and reducing ghost gear.
Coral reefs play a vital role in our ocean’s ecosystem. They harbor more than one quarter of the ocean’s biodiversity, act as natural breakwaters, and support commercial fisheries, jobs, and tourism. Coral reefs are under threat. Help protect coral reefs by conserving energy and water, ensuring all trash is properly disposed to prevent waste leakage into the environment, and when visiting a coral reef, keep your fins, gear, and hands away from the reef. Visit NOAA’s website to learn helpful tips on how you can make a difference.