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Deb Wright

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Idea: Shift our paradigm of seas and oceans from exploitation to protection

Imagine we completely changed the way we think about oceans and seas, and that the present paradigm were turned on its head. Imagine that we forget about the notion of creating marine reserves, - areas of marine refuge, - of marine sanity, which are safe from depletion and ruin. Suppose the situation were reversed so that all oceans and seas were by default protected, and instead there were ‘commercial reserves’, - areas where commercial use is possible but only if it is well-managed and sustainable.
The underlying principle governing mankind’s use of the sea, would switch from that of exploitation to that of protection. It would be a principle of reason to replace a principle of idiocy, - the Principle of Worldwide Marine Protection, where the health of the marine environment always takes precedence over commercial interests.
All marine industries would be strictly regulated, and anyone who exploits the sea would have to prove that their activity is neither harmful nor unsustainable. Whether it be fishing, dredging, oil and gas extraction, shipping or whatever.
Existing international laws, such as United Nation Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and The Convention on Biological Diversity include measures to protect ocean life. However due to poor compliance and lack of enforcement, they have not prevented the relentless devastation and plunder of the sea by industry. The Principle of Worldwide Marine Protection would be established in law. It could be a development of UNCLOS, which already obliges nation states to protect the marine environment.
The world’s oceans and seas could finally be managed in an intelligent, ethical and sustainable way, for the common good of all species, mankind included.


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  • Nov 9 2012: I think this is a wonderfully written bright idea! So relevant right now and very inspiring.

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