Marine scientists gather for conference
SCORES of the top international marine scientists gathered on the Hoe for a major conference as part of the Marine City Festival.
Speakers from around the world warned of the damage done to the seas by humans.
"The ocean is vital for the proper functioning of the world, but for far too long we have acted as though our impact on the doesn't matter," Dr Wendy Watson-Wright, assistant director general of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of Unesco, said.
Professor Jacqueline McGlade, executive director of the European Environment Agency, said there had been a huge acceleration in human impact on the seas since the 1950s.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Wednesday, May 22 2013
The conference was opened by Professor Stephen de Mora, chief executive of the Plymouth Marine Laboratory and continues today.
Dr Watson-Wright said that 90 per cent of all goods were moved by sea and 44 per cent of humans lived in the coastal zone – a figure likely to rise to 75 per cent by 2025.
But about 80 per cent of marine pollution comes from the land, with humans dumping sewage and plastics. The number of "dead zones" has increased from 49 in the 1960s to more than 400 now, an area the size of the UK.
She said 85 per cent of fish stocks were now in trouble, and increasing acidification spelt further danger, especially on shellfish which rely on calcium in seawater to build their shells.
"The blue economy must turn green," she said.
With Plymouth at the heart of the South West Marine Energy Park, she called for more investment in renewable energy and changes in fisheries management. She said it was important to adapt to rising sea levels and protect marine ecosystems.
Prof McGlade said Britain was in danger of lagging behind the rest of Europe in protecting the seas.
She said 90 per cent of marine-related employment was in shipping and tourism, and there had been huge investment in cleaning up the coastline, treating water and looking after beaches.
"Whether or not the British Government buys in wholeheartedly to what Europe is doing – I can tell you that other European countries are."
She warned that polluters faced a crackdown and financial penalties.
The threat of future legislation to target polluters was driving shipping companies to clean up their act, she said.
Maersk has transformed its fleet by setting targets to reduce fuel consumption by 40 per cent in five years.
When emission standards are introduced shipping operators will be judged – and penalised – by the standards of the top 10 per cent, she said.