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UN Assembly chief calls for expanded protective areas of ocean

A photo of Abdulla Shahid, president of the UN General Assembly.

This excerpt is from a Pacific Island Times article about the 7th Our Ocean Conference published 14 April 2022. Read the full piece here.

Abdulla Shahid, president of the UN General Assembly, urged the international community to expand protective areas of the ocean, support the scientific community and tackle plastic pollution.

“There is no way to protect the ocean without wading together with all relevant stakeholders,” Shahid said Thursday, addressing the 7th Our Ocean Conference co-hosted by Palau President Surangel Whipps Jr and John Kerry, U.S. special presidential envoy for climate.

At the side event titled “Blue Foods: Crucial Component to a Climate-Resilient Blue Economy in Global Communities,” a multi-sectoral group of stakeholders outlined the efforts to bring blue foods into the heart of the ocean agenda and kickstart a movement toward greater recognition and adoption of this vital resource.

The Pacific Community (SPC), the government of Iceland, the Environmental Defense Fund, and the Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions called for the creation of a coalition on aquatic and blue foods – foods derived from aquatic resources, plants or algae, either from fresh or saltwater.

Three 3 billion people get their vital nutrients from aquatic foods, which are also an important source of income for communities around the world with 800 million people depending on blue food systems for their livelihoods.

Resource speakers noted that the Pacific Ocean plays a critical role in the global food system. Coastal fisheries provide a source of income for up to 50 percent of households in the Pacific, and fish is one of the main sources of dietary protein in the region. In addition, the western and central Pacific oceans supply over half of the world’s tuna catch, which makes this industry not only vital to the region, but also to the rest of the world.

Tonga Prime Minister Hu’akavameiliku Siaosi Sovaleni said the event was the opportunity for the Pacific region to share its knowledge on blue foods with a global audience. “It is so vital that we are here today to talk not only about the food, but the whole system, and how we can approach it in a sustainable manner and learn from each other,” he said.

Read the full piece from the Pacific Island Times here >