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Is Our Planet Running Out of Time to Achieve UN Conservation Goals? 880 Years Away at Current Rates

The Our Ocean conference, which was held in, Athens, Greece, shed light on the urgent need for ocean conservation efforts. It highlighted the concerning lack of progress towards the goal of safeguarding 30% of the ocean by 2030 and stressed the importance of addressing the societal a

the our ocean conference 2024 logo
The Our Ocean Conference was held this year in Greece.

spects of conservation, such as ensuring access rights, equity, and justice.

In recent discussions, it was pointed out that, at the current rate of progress, it would take an additional 880 years to achieve the target of protecting 30% of the global ocean. This slow pace, with only a 0.1% increase in ocean protection over the past four years, underscores the urgency for immediate action. To meet the 30% goal by 2030, marine-protected areas (MPAs) would need to be designated nearly 150 times faster than the current rate.

Sharks play a crucial role in maintaining the health and balance of marine ecosystems, making their conservation essential for the survival of our planet. As apex predators, sharks regulate the populations of prey species, thereby preventing cascading effects throughout the food web. Their presence ensures the stability of marine habitats, including coral reefs and seagrass beds, which are vital for carbon sequestration and mitigating climate change.

However, shark populations worldwide are facing significant threats from overfishing, habitat destruction, and bycatch. Establishing marine-protected areas where sharks are safeguarded from these threats is imperative to their survival. By protecting shark populations, we not only preserve the integrity of marine ecosystems but also safeguard our own future, as our planet's health is intricately linked to the health of the oceans. Therefore, prioritising the conservation of sharks and their habitats within MPAs is not only a moral imperative but also crucial for ensuring the long-term sustainability of our planet.

Hammerhead sharks caught by fishermen
Shark populations worldwide are facing significant threats from overfishing

Efforts such as the establishment of marine sanctuaries along with global endeavours like the High Seas Treaty, are pivotal in contributing to ocean conservation if ratified. However, there are acknowledged setbacks, including the rollback of protected areas in certain regions.

Despite these challenges, the conference remained hopeful, noting advancements in addressing the societal dimensions of conservation and citing initiatives like the Ocean Justice Strategy and increased representation in conservation organisations. The significance of the Our Ocean conference lay in mobilising commitments and resources, urging attendees to ensure that conservation efforts are both effective in preserving ocean life and fair for all.

Shark Guardian is a charity relying on the generous donations and support of people like you. If you can contribute in any way to helping us safeguard the future of our oceans and the majestic sharks that live in them, please donate or become a member of Shark Guardian today!



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