High Level Panel Report Shows Hope for a Climate-Impacted Ocean

Report highlights what can be done to protect the ocean and people together

September 24, 2019
Tad Segal, tsegal@edf.org, (202) 572-3549

(NEW YORK, Sept. 24, 2019) The following is a statement by Doug Rader, chief oceans scientist at Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) Oceans Program, on the release of the High Level Panel for A Sustainable Ocean Economy report, issued today.

“The new report, issued today by the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy, outlines tangible actions that can be taken to ensure more resilient seas. The report highlights that the protection and sustainable use of the ocean will help meet some of humanity’s most urgent needs.

 “Despite the challenges the ocean faces from climate change, there is a path toward greater resilience by managing fisheries for the future. In fact, fisheries are one of the best ways to combat climate effects on the ocean. If you take care of fish, you’re taking care of a world where people and nature can prosper together. That’s because good fisheries management benefits both economic and ecosystem well-being.

“As long as the most egregious emissions scenarios are avoided, good management today of changing fish stocks can offset nearly all of the catch losses of the ocean as a whole. It’s true that there will be shifts in production patterns that must be addressed — but it turns out that good strategies exist today to begin building climate-ready fisheries for tomorrow.

“Fish act as one of the primary components of what’s known as the ocean’s ‘biological pump.’ Just as the human heart pumps blood to vital organs that then clean and re-nourish it, fish and the complex food webs they support serve the same function for the ocean.

 “We know from experience and science that by taking care of the fish, we can enhance the resilience of coral reefs, marine food webs and the coastal communities dependent on fishing to pay their bills and put food on the table.”

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