Roy  Mulder

President, Marine Life Sanctuaries Society of BC

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Will a voluntary citizen based campaign work to protect the ocean? If so, what can be done?

We currently protect less than 1% of the world's oceans. 90% of the world's fish stocks are gone. Can we as a society start a voluntary initiative to protect at least 30% of the world's ocean. It is evident that current extraction from the ocean is not sustainable. Very few countries are doing their part to create Marine Sanctuaries on their coasts.
How can we join all the voices to work together on this? Many organizations are busy with "process", few are actually doing something about it. Most governments are not actively pursuing a program to work towards setting aside areas to be fully protected.

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    Jun 25 2011: Here is areally excellent model of marine conservation in Belize. They worked very carefully to address the interests of the fishing community and also local tprouism to bring about a restoration of one ofthe wolrd's most beautful reefs:

    I think for an marine protection programs to work and win support an dcooperation..all afftected stakeholders have to be invoved in the planning and implementation.
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    Jun 24 2011: Ron & Other Commenters here

    Who are the Global Conservation fund..are they legit..??

    This link is to their oceans programs. Has anyone heard of them are they doing good work?
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      Jun 25 2011: Lindsay, thank you for the link. Conservation International seems to be doing a good work specially with their latest $1 billion funding, they must have an impact. It looks like wikipedia still provide the most comprehensive information and what seems to be missing is a global report with clear benchmarks on our progress. have an article also on coral reefs.

      Ironically, if a CEO were to manage our oceans, it would have all these reports and from these could direct which solution strategies to implement. This is one of the ideas I'm driving at - how can we organize all these information and see and direct our progress?
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        Jun 25 2011: Joe,

        My thinking was going in the same to help folk navigate what is going on on globally and how we can intersect with it.

        So you know this group? Something about it isn't sitting right with me..the board of Dircetors for example..the head of wlamart, mcDonaldsm, a lotlf te all street hedge fund guys..lightweights..a few lightweights in conservation. There aren' any decsriptions of their actual work what they actually do and some of the language is too reminiscent of "privatiszation" a la Wolrd Bank & IMF. Do you know them? Do you have any information about their actual work?
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          Jun 25 2011: Lindsay, I don't have all the information but they seem to be doing something effective. To me the people behind them is not important, they're probably just like the rest of ous wanting to truly help our world.

          I'm more concerned about the total picture and clear benchmarks and who is leading all this work. When we can organize all the information and rally all the NGOs to implement effective and efficient solutions, then I think we're on to something. Where do you think we can collaborate and lead this effort?
  • Josh S

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    Jun 27 2011: Mr. Mulder, being from midwest U.S.A. I don't see the current conservation efforts being done on our coastlines unless it's on t.v. or I hear about it on the radio. However, I think to address the issue that current efforts are not working, one must take an extensive look at the strategies being used. Are the strategies themselves flawed or is it the way they are being implemented? Is there some third party at some point in the process of implementation that's blocking progress?

    This is probably a pretty obvious answer and perhaps it's not providing any new ideas, but I just think a serious effort to understand why current efforts are failing could be fruitful for thinking and implementing new methods to obtain and use public interest and support. From a personal point of view I can say this much: As an average citizen who is not a part of any ocean conservation groups, I am interested in our efforts as a people to protect our ocean. It's just that I, and I suspect others like me, do not know how we can help. Being so far from a coastline I fail to see what I can do besides donating money, but even that seems fruitless if you're here posting about the current methods getting nowhere.
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    Jun 26 2011: The answer is "unlikely" because it is the nature of man to use up all his available resources and then move on to greener pastures and do he same again. We always want the easy option as is also evidenced by our use of fossil fuels and timber. When most of the fish in the oceans have gone some people will still enjoy fish and it is the same for oil and timber, these commodities will only be there for the very rich. The problem is that there are too many of us and the competition for available resources of all kinds looks set to continue. In time the oceans will recover by themselves when the population decreases to a level that they can sustain.
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    Jun 23 2011: Roy, this is an important aspect of our sustainability which is also connected to climate change, with climate change being one of the major focus of our efforts right now. I think that ocean protection should be a comprehensive part of our climate change goals.

    Our suggestions here are all important contributions. Ben talked about legislation which is solution 4 in what I describe as our solution stragegies ( Lindsay's idea is also great - individual stewardship and education which is a foundational solution as Paul also noted. Ray's vegetarian solution is also revolutionary which also need to be part of our education and information campaign. We can work more with the UN with the already existing Law of the Sea that Julie noted.

    Roy we can solve this problem by attacking it in all fronts. Solution 1 for time-critical factors that we need to address right now. Solutions 2 and 3 to incorporate it in the current transformation efforts of our leaders. Solutions 4 and 5 for individual education and information campaign to enact legislations and encourage individual stewardship.

    I believe that this is your personal passion so my challenge to you is to organize all the information of all government and NGO efforts, design and integrate an our overall campaign to get more people involved in making our global home work right. We have the web platform, social networks and mobile communications systems to accelerate this.

    See if my suggestions as our key solution makes sense to you.

    When questions are asked such as this, it can only mean that our world is waiting for a leader to lead us effectively and efficiently that when this question pops out, I can point to a leading NGO or government institution and I can say "yes we are actively solving this problem and we are on the right track!". With our great passion to right our world, we can start leading from anywhere and ignite our systems to make an impact.
  • Jun 23 2011: what can individuals do to protect the ocean from massive ships thousands of kilometres away?

    what the problem needs is legal bans and serious enforcement of those bans. that being the case, it also tells us what individuals can do: lobby the government and vote to that end.
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      Jun 23 2011: Ben,

      Almost all of the oceans creatures depend on coast zone habitats for breeding. The coastal zones world wide are the nurseries for bio dviersity. So there's a lot indviduals and local communities can do to maintain healthy coastal zone areas and promote awareness of coastal zone and near shore areas.
      • Jun 29 2011: while that sounds like it'd be true, i question its effectiveness. cleaning up doesn't solve the problem if the source of the pollution isn't stopped, and what can groups do about an effluent pipes and bottom trawlers?

        to me small-scale 'solutions' like this aren't really solutions at all, in the same way that switching off lights won't solve an energy crisis.
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    Jun 23 2011: On my island we have the Penobscot East Resource Center headed by a husband, Mac Carthur genius Ted Amesy and wife Robin Alden, former Commissioner of Marine Resources.

    Part of their work involves an ongoing dialog with the fishing community here ( we are a very old fishing village and land the most lobster of any port on Maine) on conservation and cosatal management practices. Our lobster industry is pretty much already self governmed, self regulated under a set of rules on number of traps, lobster size and non taking of egg bearing females.

    They also do public education and research. They have been trying to bring about Self governed, conservation based Bay Management and Coastal Zone management systems involving all the fisheries.

    Their work engages individudal stewardship for our coastal waters through ongoing programs and education for citizens and for the fisheries.
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    Jun 22 2011: Hi Roy,

    Thank you for bringing this important topic to TED Conversations

    We included the following value in our TED Conversations poll of "Commin Ground Values" ( It currently ranks 13th out of 65 listed values with two opposing it as a value. ( hope everyone will go and vote and addanything important that dosn't see addressed there)

    " "the earths oceans, its waters, its atmosphere belong to all peoples of the earth and to future nation has the right to compromise these common resources"

    A complicated issue, especially atthe level of what we can do as individuals. Perhas th emost imporatnt thing we can do as individuals is think of our oceans as a global resource..think of ourselves as global citizens and then begin to act locally from that framework?

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    Jun 22 2011: If we start showing our children what we eat and show each bite is from a limited pie. Maybe we can start eating more sustainably.

    Can't campaign if I am eating crabsalad at the same time.

    Further; Campaigning AGAINST something has never worked for the long run when it comes to nature/environment if there is no punishment for bad doing. Look at the huge campaigns against 0,5 liter cola plastic bottles and 0,2 liter yogurt cups. It only enhanced in the end the usage.

    FOR something needs to be put well in place, educating children is the most obvious for me.
  • Jun 22 2011: The world should legally ban shark fin soup.
    Poor sharks got their fins cut off just for human indulgence.
    No consumption means no killing.
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    Jun 20 2011: First we have to gather reliable, scientific data. What is the greatest threat to fish stocks, for example? Is it overfishing?

    In that case there is an extremely simple solution: Become vegetarian or vegan. Eating butchered corpses is a highly disgusting matter for modern humans, and they want to repress this thought. This goes so far that many children in Germany don't even know that meat comes from dead animals! Their parents don't tell them because otherwise the kids might refuse to eat. But adults too avoid to see the exact circumstance of how you get the body parts and organs from the animal.

    Nowadays it is really easy in Germany to live a vegetarian life, and even vegans can live without significant limitations. This was different ten to twenty years ago in regards to the range of products, the labeling and - a hurdle not to be underestimated - the prices. General vegetarianism or veganism would have massive effects on a wide variety of fields on a global scale. I think there is no other aspect in everyday life that has a comparable power on the environment. And we can only speculate about how profoundly it would affect the mindset of humans.

    Now if the millions of people in your society are relentless and willing to pollute and exploit the resources, then you can hardly help it. But if they are just habitual and generally open for questioning their current way of life, you can incite a sustainable change if you do it right.
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    Jun 13 2011: @Julie Ann, You seem to think that the UN has some sort of legal ability to apply laws and protection. Unfortunately this is not the case. there are vast areas of the ocean that have no connection to any countries jurisdiction. We currently protect less than 1% of the world's oceans. We cannot rely on our governments to implement protection in time to stop the world's fish stocks to fully collapse. We have already done an incredible amount of damage. Ocean acidification and global warming are threatening the ocean and everything in it. I'm afraid you have a false sense of confidence in the UN Convention.
    The only solution is for people to act locally and join local marine conservation initiatives.
    • Jun 20 2011: Hi Roy, I am quite aware of the state of the oceans and share your concern. I am afraid I did not make my lack of confidence in the UN to undertake such a task, quite clear. It would be helpful, however for you to elaborate on your strategy for individuals to protect the world's oceans. You state "Many organizations are busy with "process", few are actually doing something about it. Most governments are not actively pursuing a program to work towards setting aside areas to be fully protected."
      It appears that you advocate some kind of activism by individuals, but that is not clear from your statement. Can you elaborate on your solution?
  • Jun 2 2011: Roy, much of this should be covered by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. The UN, of course, is highly effective (or not) so it should be a matter of working closely with them, since they have international standing. Easier said than done, but with persistence, citizens can influence the flow of the tides, so to speak.
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      Jun 23 2011: Julie Ann

      Thanks for mentioning the U.N. Convention on the lawof the Sea.Here is a link

      : rich resource and a very good introduction to some of the issues involved in global management of our oceans and protection of bio diversity.

      And here is a wikipedia link to the definition of territorial waters.trwelve miles from shore.
      • Jun 25 2011: Thanks Lindsay. I have a pretty good background in many of these areas but I appreciate you taking the time to find the links. Cheers.
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      Jun 25 2011: Julie Ann..I provided them for others to make it easier to find what you had referred to.