Reversing the rapid decline in ocean health is critical to addressing climate change. It is a global challenge requiring a global solution. Our oceans cover 70% of the world’s surface, generate over 50% of the world’s oxygen, absorb half the carbon produced and account for 80% of the planet’s biodiversity. Ocean Health is critical for economic and food security reasons, with over 100 million households livelihoods dependent on the fisheries industry and 3 billion dependent on seafood as their primary protein.
All indicators on ocean health indicate a biosphere in rapid decline. Demand for seafood is increasing, yet most of the world’s fisheries are in collapse with 85% fully exploited. Ocean acidification and sea temperature rise have led to coral bleaching and increasing ocean dead-zones. Many scientists fear we are on the brink of a large scale maritime extinction event unless urgent action is taken.
The World Economic Forum is launching an unprecedented multistakeholder coalition to improve ocean management by exploring cross-cutting opportunities and leveraging new technologies to scale promising solutions. The coalition, known as the New Vision for the Ocean (NVO), will support a range of initiatives and events from the public and private sectors to ensure the long term sustainable use of the Ocean. Designed as a PPP delivery mechanism to help advance SDG 14 ('Life Below Water'), the New Ocean Vision can offer a platform for key industries to work together with Government, civil society and the scientific community on implementation and accountability.
To illustrate the potential of the NVO coalition, an initial effort will be deployed in 2017 to scope out and build a group of champions to address illegual, unreported and unregulated (IUU) tuna fishing. By engaging a critical mass of companies that operate in the tuna industry to high levels of traceability and transparency, this new public-private "task force" seeks to create a new standard that has the potential to be scaled and replicated in other seafood sectors beginning in 2018.