Sixth Our Ocean Conference starts in Oslo – BMU promotes alternatives to gillnetting
Germany is stepping up its efforts for international marine conservation and alternative fishing methods. The Federal Environment Ministry (BMU) is providing an additional 21 million euros for marine conservation projects in Asia, Latin America and the Pacific Islands. The projects will contribute to conserving biodiversity and landscape diversity of certain marine areas and reducing the effects of climate change. Florian Pronold, Parliamentary State Secretary at the BMU, announced this at today’s sixth Our Ocean Conference in Oslo. Oceans and seas are the least protected areas on Earth. The Our Ocean Conference provides impetus for more commitment to marine conservation. The topics range from climate change to sustainable fisheries to marine pollution and maritime safety. The Norwegian government is hosting this year’s conference, taking place on 23 and 24 October in Oslo. As in previous years, participating countries will be making voluntary commitments and pledges to protect the world’s oceans.
Parliamentary State Secretary Florian Pronold remarked: "The world’s oceans are under considerable pressure for use and are affected by a number of negative factors. We are all feeling the effects. Climate change is threatening the livelihoods of coastal regions, which depend on the protection and ecosystem services of seagrass beds and mangroves. That is why we have to step up our efforts to manage our oceans and seas more sustainably, both internationally and nationally."
At the Our Ocean Conference, the BMU made pledges for the following national and international projects: Under its International Climate Initiative (IKI), the BMU is promoting a project which aims to protect and increase the resilience of nearshore seagrass ecosystems in Asia (Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Timor-Leste) with an amount set at 4.8 million euros. Seagrass beds are the most important food resource for the endangered dugongs.
Another five million euros will be spent on a project in Colombia, promoting the procedures on identification and designation of marine protected areas and on the development of a management strategy for these areas. 9.2 euros million will go to a project on the Pacific Islands to protect and increase the resilience of nearshore carbon sinks, such as mangroves.
Beyond that, the BMU funds research on alternative, sustainable fishing techniques in gillnetting with 1.12 million euros. Gillnets are the most important kind of nets for German small-scale coastal fishing. Fisheries and nature conservation organisations are working together in this interdisciplinary project to develop new nets to reduce bycatch of marine mammals and sea birds in gillnets.