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Ocean Panel fights to protect the ocean and boost economies on the way

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A fisherman lays out mackerel to dry in the fishing village of Nazare, Portugal. February 8, 2014.
A fisherman lays out mackerel to dry in the fishing village of Nazare, Portugal. February 8, 2014.   -   Copyright  Francisco Seco/AP

For the duration of Euronews' Green Week, our magazine and news teams are exploring stories and solutions for a better planet from across Europe.

Is a sustainable ocean economy possible?

According to Maria Damanaki, the Global Managing Director for Oceans at The Nature Conservancy, all indications point to yes. "If we take care of the ocean, then in 2050, we are going to have seafood from the ocean, six times more than the seafood we are getting now", she tells us.

Did you know?

  • Over 3 billion people rely on food from the ocean as a source of protein and nutrition.
  • The ocean absorbs 93% of heat caused by human activity
  • Around 25% of human-created CO2 emissions are absorbed by the ocean.

Protecting the ocean has never been more important. That's why 14 countries from across the globe have committed to sustainably managing the ocean while boosting their economies.

Ocean Panel

The members of the High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy, otherwise known as Ocean Panel, are Fiji, Japan, Palau, Indonesia, Australia, Norway, Namibia, Kenya, Ghana, Chile, Jamaica, Mexico, Canada and Portugal. Together they represent 40% of the world’s coastlines.

The group was established in 2018 and it is co-chaired by Norway and Palau. The members work with "government, business, financial institutions, the science community and civil society" to develop ways to transition to a sustainable ocean economy.

For now, Portugal and Norway are the only two European members of 'Ocean Panel'.

European objectives

Portugal's main target is to expand its protected marine areas to almost a third of its waters by 2030. That's not all. Ricardo Serrão Santos, the country's Minister of Maritime Affairs, thinks that there needs to be a change in "the way we deal with the ocean". He says that it can't be all about extraction, we must focus more on production. He is pushing for more countries to adopt this line of thought and action.

The Ocean Panel is looking for other nations to join in the effort to make the ocean cleaner, safer and profitable for all. As Vidar Helgesen, Norway's Special Envoy for the Ocean says, "we ask and encourage other countries to join us with 2030 as their timeline so that we'll have all national waters sustainably managed by 2030".