Hong Kong’s coastal location means that we are more directly connected with — and dependent upon — oceans than most cities. But oceans impact us all, whether we live on the coast or not: they supply us with half of the planet’s oxygen, as well as food, jobs, and medicine.
Here in Hong Kong, we eat four times more seafood than the global average according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. We consume 64.4 kilos of seafood per person, per year, which is double the per capita consumption in mainland China and the 10th highest in the world! But our seafood supply is being threatened and diminished by unsustainable fishing methods, damaged coral reefs and storm surges due to rising sea levels.
And more than our food supply is affected: did you know half of Earth’s oxygen comes from the oceans? Considering the poor quality of our air here in Hong Kong, we need our oceans producing as much oxygen as they possibly can.
Imagine if the world’s oceans were no longer able to supply you with the food you eat and the air you breathe. Protecting our oceans is essential for the safety and survival of all life on Earth, which is why The Nature Conservancy and our supporters have together implemented 160 marine restoration sites around the world, and protected 4 million hectares of shark and fish habitat.
Making Fishing Sustainable Again
There’s nothing wrong with eating sustainable seafood. But unsustainable fishing practices — including overfishing and dynamite fishing — can lead to the collapses of fish stocks, and, in some cases, of entire marine ecosystems.
Until recently, fishing was a small-scale enterprise, dominated by fishers in coastal and near-shore waters. But expanding markets, new technologies, and increased accuracy in finding fish have combined to cause overfishing.
Ensuring fish for future generations is a complex task requiring a broad range of solutions — solutions that consider entire ecosystems and that contribute to the sustainable development of local communities.
The marine ecosystem-based strategies The Nature Conservancy and partners are using to reduce overfishing and make fishing sustainable again include:
- Establishing networks of marine protected areas that serve as refuge for species and protect critical habitats — such as important fish spawning areas — so that fish stocks can recover.
- Restoring important habitats such as oyster reefs and clam beds that not only provide shellfish harvests to people but also improve water quality and form important habitats for fish and other marine creatures.
- Partnering with fishers to improve our understanding of the connections between species and ecosystems, so that licensing, regulations, and fishing gear can be refined to minimize the damage to our oceans.
- Reducing the number of boats and fishing quotas for specific species in agreement with local communities and fishers.
- Helping give local communities more say and control over their marine resources so that people can manage fish stocks for their children.
- Putting in place economic policies and instruments that reward fishers for reducing fleet sizes and discarding damaging gear.
The Coral Triangle
The Coral Triangle region stretches across the Pacific and Indian Oceans and harbors the planet’s greatest concentration of coral reefs. But climate change, overfishing, pollution, and unsustainable coastal development are threatening the seas and reefs that many coastal communities — and entire nations — depend upon for their livelihoods.
Through the Coral Triangle Initiative, The Nature Conservancy collaborates with the governments of Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, the Philippines, East Timor and Malaysia — as well as local communities — to generate funding for marine conservation and create new marine protected areas. Watch a video about our work in the Solomon Islands.
Through this Coral Triangle initiative, join with The Nature Conservancy and help:
- Create safe havens for endangered sea turtles and other marine species in Indonesia;
- Monitor coral and identify the factors that help some reefs stay healthy even when sea temperatures rise, so that we can protect more vulnerable reefs now and in the future;
- Enable people in fishing villages from the Solomon Islands to Papua New Guinea to make a living through sustainable fishing; and
- Ensure coastal communities have mangroves, barrier reefs, and wetlands in place to help protect them from rising seas and storm surges.
More than a million people around the world, as well as businesses, governments, and partner NGOs, have joined The Nature Conservancy’s efforts to protect our oceans. Join us today as a Conservation Champion by making a monthly gift