WWF's Generazione Mare fighting to save Mediterranean

Focus on sustainable fishing, climate, plastics and 'blue gold'

14 June, 16:59

    NAPLES - It is crucial for governments to make immediate, necessary commitments during 2021 to bolster the protection of the Mediterranean Sea by 2030.

    To support this objective, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has launched "GenerAzione Mare": a large collective effort to defend 'blue capital' in a sea that has only 1% of the surface area of the Earth's oceans but hosts 10% of all known marine species.

    WWF noted in a statement that the future of humanity depends on the health of the oceans that cover two thirds of our planet.

    Taken together, if they were a country, it would be the seventh largest economy in the world and worth a total of 24 trillion dollars that is now threatened by a combination of pressures.

    In the manifesto of the campaign, WWF said that there are five main threats: fishing that is not sustainable (over 75% of fish stocks are overfished), risks to species that are on endangered lists, climate change (an acceleration has been seen compared with the last WWF report), and plastics (90% of harm to marine species from waste is due to plastics).

    Then there is also the 'race towards blue gold', meaing economies that proliferate at an unstoppable rate such as tourism, coastal development, maritime transport, acquacolture, and the production and extraction of gas, oil, and minerals.

    Unfortunately, in the coming years and lacking responsible management and regulations, space in the sea will not be enough for these activities to expand further without seriously impacting Mediterranean ecosystems.

    To make marine and coastal ecosystems healthy by 2030, the WWF underscored that effectively protected and ecologically connected marine areas are key.

    However, the GenerAzione Mare campaign is also working through concrete actions by citizens so that everyone can be part of the solution, a statement said.

    In the fourth year of the campaign, there has been an extraordinary increase in interest and participation in these activities and this brings hope, it said.

    WWF also aims to protect fishing and ensure that fish stocks are part of long-term management plans to ensure recovery, with the use of more selective tools to reduce impact on non-target species and fight against illegality, especially in the fishing of red tuna and sword fish.

    Working with fishermen, it said, makes it possible also to defend key species for Mediterranean biodiversity such as cetaceans, sea turtles, and sharks, eliminating accidental catches.

    The most ambitious commitment that WWF has set for 2021 is on Protected Marine Areas: through the 30by30 challenges, as provided for by the EU Strategy on post-2020 Biodiversity, there is a goal of protecting 30% of European seas in an effective manner by 2030.

    This must translate into an increase in the effectiveness of PMA management and existing nature sites and in the increase in protected surface area of the Mediterranean, including with other conservation measures.

    A WWF study found, for example, that it is possible to regenerate fish stocks and marine biodiversity by protecting key areas of the northwestern Mediterranean, the Adriatic Sea, and the Strait of Sicily.

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