Protecting the seas is good business—UN | Global News

Protecting the seas is good business—UN

/ 08:16 PM January 25, 2012

MANILA, Philippines—The worldwide fishing industry could benefit from a $50 billion boost annually if stocks are allowed time to recover and farmers stop polluting the waters with excess fertilizer, the UN said Wednesday.

Already 32 percent of the world’s global fish stocks have been depleted by years of overfishing and poor coastal management, according to a UN Environment Programme report released in the Philippine capital Manila.

Cutting pollution will mean boosting efficiency and saving money while allowing fish stocks and fishermen’s catches to rebound, Amina Mohammed, deputy executive director of the UN program, told reporters at the release of the “Green Economy in a Blue World” report.


“Many ocean industries and businesses stand to benefit directly from cleaner, more ecologically robust marine ecosystems,” she said.


While overfishing reduces fish stocks, pollution from the overuse of fertilizer in farming is also a problem, she said.

The fertilizer washes into the sea, resulting in runaway growth of algae which sucks up all the oxygen in the waters and causes fish to “drown”.

Experts have said there are over 500 oxygen-deprived “dead zones” in waters around the world created in such a way.

Europe could save at least $100 million annually just through improvements in fertilizer use to stop it affecting the oceans, said Linwood Pendleton, an oceans and coast expert from the US’s Duke University.

Marine specialist Raphael Lotilla said that as much as 49 percent of all fertilizer used in Philippine farms ended up being washed into the sea.

“Let’s work with farmers to figure out what is the right amount of fertilizer so everyone wins,” Mohammed said.


The UN report also said marine-based renewable energy sources like wind, wave and tidal power, have huge potential but are not yet cost competitive.

And it called for more measures to curb destruction of coral reefs, mangroves, seagrass beds and other marine habitats, as well as measures to prevent the spread of “invasive species” carried by ships’ hulls.

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Such species cause an estimated $100 billion in losses each year, the report said, without giving further details.

TAGS: environmental issues, fish, Food, Sea

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