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Transcript of Our Oceans
What the Seas & Oceans mean for Europe?
World's Natural Capital
Provides priceless ecosystem services!
Not really. More fragile than imagined...
Are the oceans still the epitome of unconquerable, inexhaustible vastness?
It becomes impossible to neglect the impacts of humans.
The Anthropocene Era
Represents all the water in the oceans, seas, lakes, rivers, as well as groundwater and water in the atmosphere.
Opportunities for the Future
Coastline of ~89,000 km
A total of 5.4 million jobs in sectors such as:
Oil & gas
Food Security: provides 6.4 MT of fish annually.
Maritime sector worth €500 billion per year.
75% of all EU external trade is seaborne.
But more importantly what does it mean for the future
No longer 'Solution to Pollution is Dilution'
Marine Mineral Resources
marine products still to be found.
Marine Renewable energy
Currently, aquaculture provides for
of the animal protein consumed in the EU.
As long as effective management policies are in place, we will continue reaping benefits provided by our seas & oceans for years to come.
Especially in the Marine Realm...
Tip of the iceberg
'The other CO2 crisis'
Aquaculture- Failures in oyster/shellfish farming.
Coral reefs- Significantly hampers the growth of coral reefs. Also effects fertilization, larval growth and survival rates.
Species with CaCO3 skeletons at risk.
Sea snail shell when placed in seawater with pH and carbonate levels projected for the year 2100.
Resulting in altered food webs and ecosystem functioning.
A direct result of mismanagement of our fishery resources.
Trophy Fish catches from Florida Keys West (1956-2007).
Gradual decrease in size of fish over time.
Change in species composition. Some species have become rare.
‘Only humans make products that nature can’t digest’
A global phenomenon. 'The solution to pollution is not dilution’.
Enters the food chain easily.
44% of marine bird species are known to ingest plastics!
Certain exotic species are capable to outcompete native species and take over. In the marine realm jellyfish invasions are the most common.
Black Sea comb jelly invasion (1980's) collapsed the anchovy fisheries in the Mediterranean and Black Sea.
Nuclear plants were temporarily closed down in California and Scotland, due to outbreaks of jellyfish clogging water filters.
In 2007, Mauve stinger's invaded salmon farms in Ireland, causing losses of around 2 million USD.
Tourism & Recreation
absorbed since industrial revolution.
Several European coastal regions are at risk.
Phytoplankton blooms deplete the oxygen levels in the water, which causes mass mortality events.
'dead zones' have been identified worldwide.
Our oceans regulate the CO2 in the atmosphere by absorbing and storing carbon.
Without this, the atmospheric CO2 would be already 450ppm, 60ppm higher than today.
Oceans are essentially a giant heat trap.
These currents strongly influence regional climate, by transporting the stored heat.
Water masses in varying latitudes are heated unevenly, which causes ocean currents to form.
Primary production by phytoplankton in the oceans generates the
amount of oxygen annually, as all the land plants together.
Since the total biomass of primary producers in the ocean is only about 1/200 of that of the land plants this makes primary production in the ocean 200x more productive than land plants.
: offshore wind accounted for
of total wind power
electricity production; employed
people across Europe; and represents
in annual investments.
: EU aiming for
production through offshore wind power; representing
of EU electricity demand; employing
Other marine renewable energy technologies:
Wave power devices
SeaGen power plant, Ireland.
Capacity of 1.2MW, harnesses tidal current power.
Pelamis Wave Energy Converters, Portugal.
Capacity of 2.5 MW, harnesses wave power.
La Rance tidal power station, France.
Capacity of 240 MW, harnesses tidal power,
Capacity of 4 KW, harnesses osmotic power.
Better alternative to wild caught fish.
Despite the significance of this sector, aquaculture in EU has
shown any growth in the last 10 years.
Not a surprise since, 63% of European tourists prefer to holiday on the coast.
A sector which employs
of EU employment.
Growth expected in open water activities, such as the cruise industry, yachting and whale watching.
So far almost all of our efforts in extracting resources from the sea have focused on sand, gravel, oil and gas extraction.
of the world's minerals, including cobalt, copper and zinc could come from the ocean floors.
Representing a turnover of
in the next 10 years.
Drugs derived from marine organisms:
Anti-viral drugs Zovirax and Acyclovir - obtained from Caribbean sponges.
Yondelis - obtained from sea squirts, was the first cancer fighting drug of marine origin.
EU market share of €
Prialt - obtained from toxins of cone snail, non-narcotic pain reliever.
'Mankind has only explored 5-7% of the ocean floor, and about 0.5% of the ocean itself.'
~ Robert Gagosian (Former Director of WHOI)
marine species out of an estimated
have been cataloged.
new fish species are discovered each year alone!
-need for discovery
Surely not a new species???
The 'Hoff crab' - named after the Baywatch star David Hasselhoff, for its hairy chest.
The recently documented giant squid.
Tourism & Recreation
Overuse of Marine Resources
The road to the future will be a bumpy one, with some hurdles of our own making...
There is no doubt that our seas & oceans are sources of wealth and precious resources.
But in the age of...
Despite these obstacles, our dependence on the marine system should only make our commitment towards our oceans stronger.
Better understanding of our oceans.
More effective policy responses.
Strengthened international cooperation.
This can achieved through:
Manganese nodules (the size of potatoes) on the deep water seabed.
So far the oceans have taken up 30% of CO2 emissions from human activities in the past 200 years.
Sea grasses, salt marshes, reefs and mangroves all act as natural coastal defences against floods, tsunamis, soil erosion, etc.
Up to 90% of wave energy is absorbed by coastal vegetation.
Coral reefs alone provide services worth $9 billion in the form of coastal protection.
3 times as long as the coastline of Africa.
EU has more sea than land under its jurisdiction!
Of course, as we slowly increase our knowledge on the marine realm, more and more opportunities will present themselves. Among them are:
But in recent years due to increases in resource prices and the rise in profitability of the deep sea exploration business, a lot of interest has developed in mining for deep sea minerals such as
manganese nodules, cobalt crusts and massive sulphides.
“We must plant the sea and herd its animals using the sea as farmers instead of hunters. That is what civilization is all about – farming replacing hunting.”
– Jacques Cousteau
Takes 10 kilos of feed to produce 1 kilo of wild caught!
Takes 4.13 kilos of feed to produce 1 kilo of farmed fish!
Fisheries dependent areas are the hardest hit, as was evident in the 1980’s in the Scandinavian strait of Kattegat where catches of Norwegian Lobster fell and caused stock failures.
Changes in environmental conditions are chronic, slow and hard to notice. A person in the span of their lifetime will notice these subtle changes, but each subsequent generation thinks that their memory is the
reflection of the natural state.
Therefore there is a
‘loss of perception of change that occurs with each generation’.
50 years ago
100 years ago
Daniel Pauly coined the term 'shifting baselines' to address the inconsistencies in identification of correct baseline population size in fisheries.
This is of extreme importance in fisheries management since:
‘You cannot manage what you do not measure (correctly).’
A comprehensive example of this can be seen in Florida, USA.
Quite remarkable how little we know!
Some recently documented species:
Quite remarkable since, globally aquaculture has experienced a growth rate of
per annum over the last 20 years.
Fresh water aquaponic systems that combine aquaculture and hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment.
Establishing integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (e.g. cultivation of blue mussels in proximity to Atlantic salmon in Canada)
Room for improvement for aquaculture in EU:
Emulating methods such as carp farming in China integrated with sericulture (silk farming) and mulberry plantations.
Possibly, better usage of coastal space (e.g. having fish and wind farms integrated)
The ecosystem response to the input of nutrients such as nitrates and phosphates into an aquatic system(commonly from industrial and agricultural discharge), resulting in phytoplankton blooms.