Investing to protect marine life and livelihoods
By ‘life’ we understand the diversity of lives- whether human or not, and the places they call home- the coastal and marine social-ecological systems. For ages, the ocean has been playing the role of ultimate guardian for the human and wildlife. But in the wake of many human-induced threats, the Ocean’s health is deteriorating rapidly.
Now, more than ever we need an economic approach which considers investing in the health of our Ocean planet as the first priority- the Blue Economy.
The blue economy can generate jobs for the millions and bring about significantly tangible changes in the lives and livelihood of the millions of people living in coastline, Islands and across Bangladesh, if the resource management is governed by principles of protection of bio-diversity, conservation is community-led and efforts for care are intertwined with vision of scientific understanding.
Like the global Ocean, Bay of Bengal needs investment to face challenges of Overfishing, Predator Loss, Pollution, Climate Change, and Habitat Destruction.
- Overfishing: Overfishing depletes stocks of fish beyond their ability to recover. This disrupts the ecosystem and eliminates a valuable source of food and income.
- Predator loss: Their removal can cause a potentially irreversible cascade of complex knock-on effects, destabilizing marine ecosystems to their – and our – severe detriment.
- Climate change: This will create vast dead zones as plankton and corals – the primary producers for nearly all marine life – struggle to survive under increasingly inhospitable conditions.
- Pollution: Pollution can poison marine life and decimate entire marine environments. Vast quantities of solid and chemical waste from human activities are continually dumped and leach into the sea, including plastics, sewage, oil and toxins that accumulate in food webs.
- Habitat Destruction: Habitat destruction physically limits the suitable living space available to marine life. Coastal development, trawling, and aquaculture all destroy important marine habitats vital for supporting sea health, such estuaries and mangrove systems that function as nurseries.
To start with we need to;
- Maintain and secure Sustainable Fisheries;
- Protect fragile habitats to help restore fisheries and boost up the local economy;
- Prevent trash and debris that make way to water and threatens sea fronts in multiple ways with far reaching ramifications and devastate the marine environment;
- Strongly regulate mineral extraction and transportation to ensure pollution-free sea.
- Undertake scientific research to investigate into the marine ecological environment and publish periodically.
- Persuade strongly to stop Genetically Engineered (GE) fish cultivation near the coast.
- Carry out policy advocacy at national and international level for prevention of all types of detrimental activities;
- Develop a community-based and action-oriented approach to social and economic development through ecologically appropriate dependence and conservation.
- Encourage researchers _marine biologists, oceanographer and marine fishery experts_ and students to carry out research in this area.
- Build networks with scientific institutions and activists forums.
To maintain a sound marine environment, prevention of detrimental activities, supported by policy and action, SOS seeks to widen its network and support based. Coordinated efforts among government agencies, citizen bodies, related private businesses, commercial and recreational fishermen and coastal communities are integral to continuous efforts consistent with goals of the organization.
We need to ensure
No offshore drilling near Environmentally Critical Area or would be Marine Protected Area. Considering their importance to biodiversity and fisheries there are some marine habitats in the Bay of Bengal which need to be protected. These areas should be located precisely and declared as protected from any economic activities.
SOS seeks a moratorium on off-shore drilling in areas which can directly impact the Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) Ecologically Critical Areas (ECAs), Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), National Parks, and other important marine and coastal protected areas in the Bay of Bengal Region.
Set up detail and effective regulation for offshore drilling. The safety regulation should encompass a comprehensive scientific approach to the health, biodiversity, and function of the marine ecosystem of the bay of Bengal.
Developing offshore wind energy needs to be prioritized. Instead of offshore oil drilling priority should be placed on renewable energy like offshore windmills. The government should organize financial mechanisms to be extended to offshore wind energy. Renewable energy is simultaneously cost effective and sustainable, which provides greater and long-run benefits to the economy.