World Oceans Day

Celebrating the World Oceans Day: “Our Oceans, Our Future: for a healthy sea for the present and future generation”.

The World Oceans Day was suggested at the World Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992. Over the Resolution A/RES/63/111, of December 5, the General Assembly of the United Nations officially recognized the 8th of June since 2008 as “World Oceans Day”. This date was established with the main objective of increasing the global awareness to challenges that international communities are facing related with the oceans.

For celebration of World Oceans Day, this year Biodinâmica was interviewing the fishermen Abdul Zacarias and Latino Antumane, in the Pemba city, addressing issues about the quality of the oceans. We also interviewed Joyce Ambelikola, a finalist student at the Faculty of Natural Sciences at Lurio University, who is currently developing a socio-economic research project on sea urchins’ fisheries in the northern part Mozambique.

The Earth has five oceans: Pacific, Indian, Atlantic, Antarctic and Arctic. Together they occupy about 70% of the planet.

But how do people interpret the importance of these oceans?

“The oceans have great socio-economic importance. In the ancient times, they were used for navigation and commercial trade between the continents. But not only,  the oceans have been useful in the process of oil and gas exploration, since it is in these environments where we find reserves of these resources. In ecological terms, the oceans serve as natural thermal regulators of the Earth and they are home of a considerable part of the world’s biodiversity, which also benefits local communities”, said Joyce Ambelikola. Abdul Zacarias and Latino Antumane, local fishermen also interviewed recognize the oceans as a source providing food and livelihoods to families through fishing resources.

According to Joyce, today the health state of the oceans is not so good, due to the increased use of plastic (boosted by the population growth) that highly pollutes the oceans. Associated with this problem, climate change and the escape of fossil fuels, which sometimes occur in the process of exploration, have contributed significantly to the acceleration of the degradation of the oceans.

There have been a lot of changes in the oceans due to the pollution of this environment. For example, many years ago I lived in a coastal area in Nacala, where there was a beach nearby, and I left there to live in Pemba. Four years later I returned to Nacala. In the same place the beach was destroyed, because there was a great amount of plastic in the sea and the sand was eroded“, reinforced Joyce.

In addition to ocean pollution, there has been an increase in fishing effort in the oceans over the years, resulting in reduced catches and destruction of coral reefs due to the use of harmful fishing gear, such as dragging net.

According to the interviewees, local authorities responsible for ocean management should strengthen ocean monitoring and compliance with established laws, as well as sensitize communities, from children in schools to adults, to increase awareness of the Importance of the oceans and promote their sustainable use.

In Mozambique, many ecological and socio-economic studies and projects have been developed with the objective of minimizing the impacts of human activities on oceans and seas and promoting the sustainability of these ecosystems. An example of this is Joyce’s work. This is a socio-economic study on the characterization of the sea urchin (Tripneustes gratila) fishery in northern Mozambique, which is expected to be concluded soon. The main objective of this study is to help to reduce the fishing effort not only of sea urchins but also of other marine species and thus contribute to the proper functioning of ecological processes and the sustainability of the oceans.

You can watch here the video of the interview with fishermen on the beaches of Nanhimbe and INOS in the Pemba city.