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Ocean

© Green Renaissance / WWF-UK

WWF aims to ensure productive and resilient ocean ecosystems, sustaining human well-being and conserving biodiversity.

To attain this goal by 2030, WWF will focus on achieving two closely linked outcomes:
  1. Protected habitat: Conserve and effectively manage at least 30 per cent of coastal and marine ecosystems by significantly reducing impacts, improving resilience and restoring health and productivity;
  2. Sound fishing: Double the world’s sustainable fisheries.

The seas around Africa are spectacularly rich in marine biodiversity, while the fisheries and coastal resources are critically important for the national economy, livelihoods and food security of millions of people.

© Istockphoto.com / WWF

While the oceans may seem endless, inexhaustible and indestructible the truth is they are in serious trouble. Half the world’s coral reefs and mangroves have already been lost – some of the most productive habitats on Earth. And many crucial fish stocks have been pushed to the point of collapse, and some beyond, threatening people’s livelihoods, food and nutritional security. Yellowfin tuna in the Indian Ocean, one of the most valuable commercial species traded globally is in the red – while many top marine predators such as sharks and rays are being wiped out through bycatch in fishing nets.

In Africa especially, for coastal communities the loss of coral reefs, mangroves and seagrass beds leaves them vulnerable to coastal erosion, storm damage and food shortages, as these areas are critical nurseries for seafood.

And climate change is making the ocean hotter and more acidic, which could spell further disaster for coral reefs and the rich variety of life they support. As evidence of the sheer scale of destruction of the marine environment has become ever more evident, WWF has taken up the challenge.

WWF helped spearhead a huge increase in the creation and expansion of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs): in Africa this included priority new MPAs in the south west Indian Ocean seascape, a priority region for WWF. WWF is working to establish and support hundreds of communities to take responsibility for sustainable management of the marine resources on which they depend.

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© WWF / Simon Rawles