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World Oceans Day

The UN World Oceans Day takes place on 8 June every year. The purpose of the day is to, “to inform the public of the impact of human actions on the ocean, develop a worldwide movement of citizens for the ocean, and mobilize and unite the world’s population on a project for the sustainable management of the world’s oceans.”

The theme for 2023 is Planet Ocean: the tides area changing, calling for an increased focus on the world’s oceans:

The ocean covers the majority of the earth, but we have only explored a small portion of its waters. Despite humanity’s utter reliance on it, and compared to the breadth and depth of what it gives us, the ocean receives only a fragment of our attention and resources in return.

This World Oceans Day, the tides are changing. In celebration of the United Nations World Oceans Day 2023 theme, Planet Ocean, we are joining forces with decision makers, international civil servants, indigenous leaders, scientists, private sector executives, celebrities and youth activists, to underscore how earth is more than it may seem and to finally put the ocean first.

Previous themes have included lives and livelihoods in 2021 and revitalization, calling for collective action for the ocean, in 2022.

The United Nations (UN) Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, set out some of the challenges facing the world’s oceans at the launch of the 2023 Ocean Race Summit that took place in Cabo Verde in January:

Around 35 per cent of global fish stocks in the world are over-exploited.  Global heating is pushing ocean temperatures to new heights, fuelling more frequent and intense storms, rising sea levels, and the salinization of coastal lands and aquifers.

Once-rich coral habitats are being bleached to oblivion.  Mangrove forests are being destroyed, taking the species they host with them.  And meanwhile, toxic chemicals and millions of tons of plastic waste are flooding into coastal ecosystems — killing or injuring fish, sea turtles, seabirds and marine mammals, and making their way into the food chain and ultimately being consumed by us.  By 2050, there could be more plastic in the sea than fish.

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