Investing in the Future by Taking Care of the Ocean

The health of the ocean is of great importance to me, and it’s a cause that I have devoted much of my time to over the years. I was honoured to offer my thoughts on how to protect the ocean at The Economist‘s third World Ocean Summit recently.

To mark World Oceans Day (June 8), I wanted to share my views on why the health of the ocean is of great importance to me, and how there is a real opportunity to invest in the future by taking care of the ocean. The real question is: what do we mean by investing?

To begin — some basics need to be in place. With a warming planet, pollution and overfishing, and with only about one percent of the global ocean fully protected, countries must act to conserve and protect marine life on the high seas.

I am delighted that governments have just agreed at the United Nations to negotiate a global treaty with this purpose. But that UN process needs to speed up — we just don’t have time to waste. We are spending precious high-seas capital and we must work together to have this agreement in place within five years.

There is much more that we can do. Retailers should take responsibility for their supply chains. That means knowing where fish and seafood are caught, which ports they have been through — and making sure that international-labour standards are upheld.

To be responsible also means not to source or sell endangered or vulnerable species, and not to facilitate their trade. For instance, we know that sharks and rays are enormously threatened. The numbers are staggering. Recent studies estimate that at least 100 million sharks are caught and killed each and every year, mostly for their fins in unregulated or illegal —> Read More