Alexandra Cousteau on a scientific expedition with ocean conservation organization Oceana – examining rebounding coral reefs in El Nido, Philippines that were previously damaged by dynamite fishing. Photo: Danny Ocampo
APRIL 3, 2020 - BERLIN: Alexandra Cousteau, Founder of Oceans 2050, the campaign and action platform dedicated to restoring abundance to the oceans by 2050, announces that the science that underpinned the establishment of Oceans 2050 has now been made public. The international study, led by Oceans 2050 Chief Scientist Professor Carlos Duarte, demonstrates that recovery of marine life by 2050 is attainable if a key set of actions is employed at scale.
Published on 1 April 2020 in the scientific journal Nature , the research documents the recovery of marine populations, habitats and ecosystems following past conservation interventions and provides specific, evidence-based recommendations to scale proven solutions globally.
Key findings range from spectacular cases of marine megafauna rebounds such as that of humpback whales and northern elephant seals, to the recovery of fish stocks, pollution reduction and mangrove forest restoration. Importantly, the study noted that recovery time to rebuild key components of marine life can be accelerated to within two to three decades from today if climate change is tackled and a combination of six complementary “recovery wedges” are deployed.
“2050 is an achievable goal,” said Cousteau, “and one that will deliver transformative benefits to both ecosystems and economies. By scaling-up critical interventions such as seaweed aquaculture for example, we will restore ocean health, establish an ocean-based economy and take substantive climate action.”
One of Oceans 2050 primary strategies is to advance the science required to demonstrate sequestration rates for seaweed farms globally and develop a voluntary carbon protocol to allow for the issuance of carbon credits by seaweed farms.
Per the study, the ocean currently contributes 2.5% of global GDP and provides employment to 1.5% of the global workforce with an estimated output of US$1.5 trillion in 2010, expected to double by 2030 – with increased attention on the ocean as a source of food and water, clean energy, and as a means to mitigate climate change.
“Success will depend on the collective realization that 21st century challenges demand a new operating system to feed and power the world in a regenerative way. We have to move beyond conservation to restoration and from sustainability to a core principal of abundance. With concerted effort, we can take this omni-win solution to scale,” said Cousteau.
“Humanity is at an inflection point when we can choose between a legacy of a resilient and vibrant ocean or an irreversibly disrupted ocean for the generations to follow,” Professor Duarte concluded.
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Seaweed farmer near Bali, Indonesia. Seaweed aquaculture is a scalable, revenue-generating opportunity for ocean farmers and farms of all capacities in all geographies to sequester carbon while providing regenerative ecosystem services to the oceans and significant economic impacts to communities. Photo: Carol Da Riva @caroldariva.photos