Source: European Union
Today, on World Oceans Day, I want to join the global celebration of our oceans. I want to highlight their importance for our wellbeing and for the wellbeing of future generations: as an abundant supplier of food, energy and other natural resources; as a regulator for our climate and many of our natural cycles; and as source of inspiration, imagination and humility. On this day, I also want to recall the urgent need to address the immense challenges that our oceans are faced with: climate change, pollution, environmental degradation and unsustainable management of their resources.
Our oceans connect us all. Borderless as they are, so are the challenges they face. This is why the European Union is supporting strong international ocean governance. Last year in Malta the Our Ocean Conference resulted in 433 commitments from across the world, and financial pledges of over €7 billion euros. We look forward to the next edition in Bali, on 29-31 October, and will contribute to its success by delivering on our promises and tabling new commitments. We also remain firmly committed to the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and are embedding this agenda into our policies.
The theme of this year’s World Oceans Day is “Preventing plastic pollution and encouraging solutions for a healthy ocean”. The European Commission has recently tableda proposal that will halt pollution from single use plastic items and derelict fishing gear. With the help of our EU citizens, our companies and innovators, our fishermen and fishing gear producers, we will be able to prevent marine litter at source. Other recent initiatives, such as the Fisheries Control Regulation, the Directive on Port Reception Facilities, and our proposal for the next long-term EU budget, complement this proposal, removing barriers and adding financial stimuli.
On World Oceans Day, I want to send a positive message. With our common fisheries policies, we are showing that sustainability and economic performance go hand in hand. In the North-east Atlantic, we have moved from 5 to 53 fish stocks at sustainable levels in less than a decade, while the net profit of our fishing fleet is reaching record highs. The European Union is playing its part, we are taking care of our future; standing up for our oceans.