Seafarers’ work, essential for the conservation of marine ecosystems

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Today marks the commemoration of the Seafarers’ Daya date proclaimed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) which is celebrated every June 25 with the objective of to recognize the contribution of this group to the world economy, through activities related to the sea, the protection and conservation of marine ecosystems and the generation of knowledge.

The term “seafarers” refers to those groups of people involved in maritime activities, both on a vessel and those providing support from land, including vessel crew members, offshore fishermen, fishing gear netters, maritime researchers, land support personnel and rescue teams, among others.

This year, under the theme “50 years of MARPOL: our commitment continues”, IMO wishes to highlight its long history of environmental protection in the face of the impacts of shipping on the marine environment. This year’s celebration also coincides with the fiftieth anniversary of the implementation of the MARPOL International Convention, a regulatory framework focused precisely on the prevention of pollution of the marine environment by ships, whether due to operational or accidental causes.

At present, according to the IMO, international shipping accounts for approximately 80% of the global transport of goods between peoples and communities around the world, which makes it necessary to establish international standards to ensure the safety, security and environmental performance of this transport.

Also, according to UN data, more than three billion people currently depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods, and it is estimated that by 2030, there will be around 40 million people working in the ocean-related sector.

Because of this close link, seafarers’ activities can be valuable tools to promote knowledge and conservation of the richness of the natural heritage. Globally, the ocean contains nearly 200,000 identified species, but the actual numbers may be in the millions. Spain is also one of the countries with the greatest marine biodiversity in Europe, with nearly 14,000 known species, which makes it essential to promote their protection.

In this context, from MITECO’s Biodiversity Foundation we continue working to achieve a sustainable ocean and healthy marine ecosystems, strengthening the collaboration and integration of seafarers. Thus, the Foundation has been included in the Operational Program of the European Maritime Fund for Fisheries and Aquaculture (FEMPA). With this, the Pleamar Program will continue within the framework of FEMPA, redoubling its objective of supporting the fishing and aquaculture sector in its commitment to increasingly sustainable activities, reducing marine pollution and promoting the ecological transition to improve knowledge and the protection, conservation and restoration of the marine environment.

In addition, during this period, aspects related to the protection and improvement of knowledge of the marine environment through research, strengthening governance, reducing the impact of fishing and improving environmental knowledge of aquaculture will be reinforced.

To this end, the focus will be on the aspects of collaboration between scientific, sectorial and environmental agents. In addition, various improvements will be made to the administrative and economic management of the projects to simplify internal management aspects. To this end, it is proposed to publish only two calls for proposals and to support projects with a more transformative approach that can be developed over several years.