Sylvia Earle Calls on Divers to Help Save Our Oceans
Leading marine conservation campaigner Sylvia Earle called on all divers to join forces and protect our oceans. She said: 'The sharks can't fix the problems, the mantas can't fix the problems, the groupers can't fix the problems - but we can, and it is our responsibility.'
She told the audience at Cozumel Scuba Fest in the headline address that we now know the extent and scale of the problems we face. She said as much as 80 per cent of coral reefs in the Caribbean have been lost 'on my watch, on our watch'; industrial fishing has decimated fish stocks at an unprecedented and unsustainable rate; plastic pollution will mean by '2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish' and species such as the vaquita dolphin in the Sea of Cortez are on the edge of extinction.
'We know the extent of the problem,' she said. 'But we have the power and now the knowledge to change it. We have to make a plan. We caused the problems, we now have to fix them and time is running out.'
But she stressed that she was optimistic. 'We are uniquely lucky. We have the knowledge and the technology to take care of nature. For the first time we actually understand most of these processes and we can effect change - it is in our grasp.'
She said divers are in a special position and called on us to bear witness about what is happening in our oceans. 'You know what is going on - share that knowledge and share your love for the marine world,' she said. 'Take a child diving, take a grandparent diving. Do whatever is in your gift to make a difference. For the sake of our children, for the sake of our planet we have to turn the tide. We really can make a difference.'
She told the audience that a few weeks previously she had been at UN where for the first time in its existence 'it got around to looking at what is most of our planet - the oceans'. She welcomed the UN's call for 10 per cent of the world's oceans to be protected by 2020 and said even more has to be done.
She said that next month she will be attending another UN gathering where they will be looking at regulating the 64 per cent of the world's oceans that fall outside of national boundaries and will be calling on stopping what she believes is the single most important threat to the health of our oceans - industrial fishing.
At the fifth annual scuba fest in Cozumel she gave an extensive interview to DIVE which we will be running in our next issue.