Oceana Urges Americans: "Don't Forget the Oceans on Earth Day"

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Oceana, the largest international organization solely dedicated to advocating for the world's oceans, encourages people to celebrate Earth Day 2007 by joining the fight to reverse the dramatic decline in health of the world's oceans -- which make up nearly three quarters of the earth. They ask people to join their efforts at http://www.Oceana.org.

The good news is that we can bring our oceans back from the brink of irreversible collapse if enough people join the fight.

Oceana, the largest international organization solely dedicated to advocating for the world's oceans, encourages people to celebrate Earth Day 2007 by joining the fight to reverse the dramatic decline in health of the world's oceans -- which make up nearly three quarters of the earth.

"We really need everyone to remember the oceans this Earth Day because our oceans are in terrible trouble," noted Andrew Sharpless, CEO for Oceana. "The good news is that we can bring our oceans back from the brink of irreversible collapse if enough people join the fight."

Oceana believes there is one human activity that, if dealt with, can reverse the ocean's fast track towards collapse. "What is going to wreck the oceans in the next 20 years if we don't deal with it is destructive commercial fishing. We are simply taking too many fish out of the ocean too fast--and we are doing it in destructive and short sighted ways. Fortunately, this is a solvable problem," Sharpless continued.

Oceana's message this Earth Day comes on the heels of a landmark article in the international journal Science. The authors, all leading ocean scientists, projected that all commercial fisheries around the world could collapse by 2048 if the current rate of fishing were to continue. They considered a fishery collapsed when catches drop below 10% of the recorded maximum.

"At such low levels there are serious consequences not just for the fish -- which risk being reduced to levels at which populations cannot recover -- but also for the food supply for a billion people around the world who turn to fish for a primary source of protein. This means terrible hardship for the coastal communities and 200 million people around the world whose livelihoods depend on fishing," added Sharpless.

To reverse the current trend, Oceana's team of marine scientists, economists, lawyers and advocates focus on specific and concrete policy changes that address three things: excessive fishing capacity paid for with government subsidies, bottom trawling which destroys essential ocean habitat, and excessive rates of bycatch (the catch and killing of wild fish in the pursuit of commercially targeted species).    

"Fixing the oceans may be the biggest environmental problem we can solve relatively simply. We know that when fishing pressure is reduced, many collapsed fisheries do recover -- if we protect them while there are still healthy ocean communities for them to live in," said Sharpless.

This Earth Day, Oceana is asking Americans to join their efforts to protect the world's oceans at http://www.Oceana.org.

Oceana campaigns to protect and restore the world's oceans. Our teams of marine scientists, economists, lawyers and advocates win specific and concrete policy changes to reduce pollution and to prevent the irreversible collapse of fish populations, marine mammals and other sea life. Global in scope and dedicated to conservation, Oceana has campaigners based in North America (Washington, DC; New York; Juneau, AK; Los Angeles and Monterey, CA; and Portland, ORE), Europe (Madrid, Spain; Brussels, Belgium) and South America (Santiago, Chile). More than 300,000 members and e-activists in over 150 countries have already joined Oceana. For more information, please visit http://www.Oceana.org.

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Juliana Stein
Oceana
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