Is The World Ready?

For the oceans to recover from more than 50 years of daily abuse worldwide from overfishing and pollution from a million sources, stronger measures are needed on a global scale and enforced on a global level. MarineBio poses the question: What if the following policies were put into place? Though some may seem a bit radical, the question is – what radical changes will the ocean suffer if the way we treat it is not radically changed? What if we had a global governing body that would provide oversight for global ocean management and enforce policies with strict penalties for violations? For the sake of this post, we’ll call it the “Sustainable Environmental Agency for the Ocean” or “SEAO” and will assume it is composed of high-level officials with world-wide enforcement powers based on the structure and focus of agencies such as:

A SEAO would have clearly defined goals and objectives and the capacity for global reach and enforcement power. SEAO would have a strong monitoring and evaluation function as well as the capability to: create policy documentation, research the issues, and impose the penalties and collect fines.

Global Sustainable Fishing Plan
All fisheries must implement sustainable fishing methods immediately. The fishing industry must submit annual sustainable fishing plans to SEAO. Companies violating policies enacted by this administrative body will be receive a substantial fine and any active ship involved in the violation will be confiscated and sold at auction with proceeds going to the support of SEAO or to conservation organizations working to combat such violations.

Needed:
1. worldwide acceptance of the idea
2. worldwide compliance with the idea
3. A SEAO division staffed by experts capable of managing sustainable fishing on a global scale

Fishing companies in compliance would benefit in the following ways:
1. they would be helping to secure their own future
2. they could market themselves as pro-ocean/marine life providing safe, healthy seafood to humans
3. they would not have to pay fines or lose ships

Global Pollution Plan
Effective immediately, every coastal region worldwide and all entities polluting the ocean through dumping must monitor and correct pollutants contaminating the ocean by exceeding levels as outlined in SEAO’s Sustainable Pollution Plan. The acceptable levels are to be determined by two factors:

1. the gross amount of effluent reaching the ocean, and
2. the ocean area effected in relation to total coastal percentage.

The SEAO plan will include details on acceptable levels for point source sampling, solutions for identifying sources of and correcting excessive pollutants identified, calculations for gross effluents, total state or country pollution levels calculation, state or country acceptable pollution levels, sampling methods and frequencies, etc.

Countries must submit annual pollution plans to SEAO. Each state or country that does not submit a plan by the annual deadline or that is found not complying with SEAO’s Sustainable Pollution Plan will receive a substantial fine. All states or countries found exceeding the levels outlined in the Plan 2 years after it is implemented will be fined $1 million per ppm (parts per million = mg/l or mg/kg) of each pollutant over the defined maximum levels. All proceeds will go to SEAO and/or to conservation organizations working to combat such violations.

Needed:
1. worldwide acceptance of the idea
2. worldwide compliance with the idea
3. A SEAO plan with clearly defined limits on pollutants and the capacity to monitor levels and their impact on ecosystems on a global scale.

Countries in compliance would benefit in the following ways:
1. they would be helping to secure their own future
2. they would save money by avoiding fines
3. they could market themselves as pro-earth
4. their citizens would be healthier and therefore happier leading to increased productivity, etc.

These are just a couple of the issues that need global management and monitoring. What do you think? What are your ideas? Sure, ours may be idealistic and simplistic but if they were possible and achievable, would they improve things for our species and for the ocean?

We’d love to see the U.S. start such an initiative and hope the rest of the world would follow. The US is a global economic leader and the worst offender in terms of pollution. The time to approach sustainable ocean management on a global scale is now, the supporting evidence is overwhelming.

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