WELCOME to OCEAN BLUE: Information concerning the protection of marine environment, sustainable use of its natural resources and conservation of its biodiversity.
FROM the first shellfish gathering shore-dwellers millennia ago to the coastal communities of today: throughout history the people have relied on the seas and coasts to provide for their spiritual, social and economic well-being.
The oceans and seas have long been viewed as inexhaustible reservoirs of living and non-living natural resources and as limitless sinks for the disposal of our industrial, agricultural and domestic wastes. We have only recently begun to acknowledge that there are limits to the extraction of fish and minerals and that marine ecosystems are vital and not immune to the effects of human activities taking place on land or at sea, and cannot withstand the pollution we put in.
It is now apparent that the oceans and seas are undergoing profound human-induced alteration and that the scale, intensity and speed of such change has increased tremendously in the past century as a consequence of growing human populations, higher levels of consumption and increasingly potent technologies.
The symptoms of the resulting ecological stress include overexploited fish stocks, hazardous substances in the food chain, immune system disorders in marine mammals, genetic pollution of wild salmon populations,invasive exotic species disrupting coastal ecosystems, ancient deep-sea corals and seabed habitats damaged by fishing gear, nutrient pollution and harmful algal blooms,radioactive hotspots, oil spills, undersea noise pollution, littered beaches, eroded dunes, diminished coastal wetlands, disturbed wildlife breeding sites, and the potentially enormous effects of global climate change on marine ecosystems, habitats, species and human settlements along the coast.
Together these threats and pressures make a potent, though little understood, synergistic complex that according to growing scientific consensus poses an unprecedented threat to the stability of ecosystems and the existence of species on a worldwide scale. By allowing these threats to the oceans and by adding to the related pressures, we jeopardise our own health and well-being.
Importance of the Sea
Oceans, seas, islands and coastal areas form an integrated and essential component of the Earth's ecosystem and are critical for global food security and for sustaining economic prosperity and well-being of many national economies, particularly in developing countries.
THE enormous size, diversity and complexity of the marine environment present governments and civil societies with many challenges regarding its protection and management.
In order to responsibly and effectively manage the health of the marine environment, we must first understand its character and recognise that "the environment" is not itself an entity that we can manage — it is a dynamic and diverse system that changes naturally, heedless of our desire to manipulate and control its behaviour. Only the impact of human influence on the marine environment can be managed, and that usually requires us to modify our behaviour.
The marine environment is a complex entity comprising distinct but interconnected components, many of which are of enormous physical dimension: the coastline, seabed, its subsoil, the water column, sea surface and overlying atmosphere, the abundance and variety of marine life, habitats and ecosystems within the marine environment, the substances, energy, objects and constructions we introduce to it, and the human activities that take place on, in, over and around it.
Oceans and seas cover over 70 per cent of the Earth's surface. They have a large influence on global heat transport and precipitation (climate and weather patterns). They provide a large proportion of the oxygen we breathe and are a major source of biodiversity and natural resources.
The protection and management of the natural resource base are of fundamental importance to achieving ecologically sustainable economic and social development. Nearly one billion people worldwide already rely on oceans and seas as a major source of nutrition. This dependence will continue to grow as human populations increase. The degradation of the oceans and seas seriously threatens food security and the eradication of poverty across the globe.
In addition to food, oceans and seas provide us with a wide variety of goods, services and other benefits, including oil and gas, renewable energy generation potential, transportation corridors and recreational opportunities.
A healthy society depends on healthy seas and coasts.
http://www.oblue.utvinternet.com/ob_importance.html The ocean and seas also play an important part in commerce. Land area, as we all know, is not contiguous. Hence, the ocean and the seas are used as watery highways for large ships and tankers which transport wanted commodities, produce and other merchandise from one port to another across the globe.
Many countries, too, make use of the seas as their natural boundaries which enables them to make full use of their territorial waters to maximum use as well. Further, development of seaports and harbors to increase trade and commerce with other countries would also improve the pace of that country's progress.
The seas are a treasure trove. Since fish contains animal proteins, fats, minerals and vitamins, it is an excellent food. It can also be used as animal food and fertilizers. But the world's fishing industry has yet to develop to the same extent as its agriculture. Talk of 'aqua culture' or 'farming of the sea' to help feed starving countries are still in its infancy and, so far, little progress has been made. Sea water also contains many other salts and minerals. There is gold in sea water. On the sea beds are many other metals, and diamonds which can be extracted. Under the sea bed are oil and natural gases.