June 7 - 13, 2020: Issue 453


World Oceans Day 2020: Our Ocean Our Future

Blaze Roberts will be in the ocean on Worlds Oceans Day 2020 - A J Guesdon photo
Snapperman Beach, Pittwater - families will be picnicking beside the sea on World Oceans Day 2020  - A J Guesdon photo

Residents will celebrate World Oceans’ Day, June 8th in thousands of different ways – on the beaches, in the seas, on the estuary – surfing, swimming, sailing, lifesaving, kayaking, paddling, fishing, taking a stroll along the beach, watching whales swim north from our headlands.

Our yacht clubs and Marinas are Clean Marina Program and Fish Friendly Marinas adherents, our fishing clubs and their members follow the rules for fish limits and sizes and look after the seaweed beds that are nurseries for fish, Operation Crayweed to restore Sydney’s underwater forests as habitat for underwater creatures stems originally from Palm Beach crayweed, the NSW DPI restocking Narrabeen lagoon with prawns, respecting what our Aquatic Reserves are for and sharing what may be found there with the younger generations, respecting the Wildlife Preservation Areas and ensuring these are safe places for what lives there, our local bushcare groups rehabilitating beach dunes, riparian corridors, and creeks that flow through wetlands into lagoons, resident Sydney Wildlife carers are out saving shorebirds, turtles, water snakes, ORRCA volunteers are out saving seals, whales, dolphins, the Friends of Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment which aim, through advocacy and education to preserve the Narrabeen Lagoon catchment, its bushland, creeks, flora, fauna and cultural sites and to seek to reduce pollution and degradation of these, the National Parks and Wildlife Service doing wonders for the fairy penguin colony on Lion Island and at Manly.

You don’t have to tell locals to pick up rubbish and plastics when they see it; we know what the tides bring in. Avalon, Narrabeen and Manly Boomerang Bag makers live here, they were backed up from the outset by their local government representatives and state MPs, Beach cleans are an ongoing focus with people of diverse backgrounds and interests coming together, for years now, through groups such as The Green Team, Living Ocean (Live a Plastic Free Life, No Offshore Drilling, Whale Data collection), the Northern Beaches Clean Up Crew, the Surfrider Foundation Manly and Surfrider Foundation Northern Beaches, Dragonfly Environmental, and even on a daily basis, residents cleaning up the beaches just because that's what we all do.

The Australian Marine Conservation Society was formed over 50 years ago by a community of scientists and ocean conservationists, who came together to take action to protect our marine life.

Their message for World Oceans Day 2020?:

Australians have a deep bond with our oceans. As inhabitants of the largest island on earth, it is our great privilege to grow up surrounded by an amazing diversity of life and colour.

It is this great love, and pride for our oceans, that drives us every day. If you want a future for our threatened Australian Sea Lions, our vulnerable turtles, or our awe-inspiring ocean giants, join your passion with ours and help us save our oceans today.

World Oceans Day gives an opportunity for our community to celebrate and reflect on our bond with the ocean. It’s a day for inspiration and collaboration, as we seek a future that supports a healthy ocean for a healthy planet for us all.

This World Oceans Day, we are working together to protect 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030. That’s less than 10 years away! By safeguarding at least 30% of our oceans with highly protected marine sanctuaries, we can have healthy oceans full of life for generations to come. 

Our Federal Government established the Australian Institute of Marine Science, the Australian Antarctic Division. Australia was instrumental in the creation of the Antarctic Treaty in 1959, Australia and France led diplomatic discussions that resulted in a mining ban in the Antarctic in 1989. It was an Australian government that proposed an end to ‘scientific’ whaling and commercial whaling at the 2010 IWC meeting then backed up breaches in the International Court of Justice. Right now, Australia is taking the next step in our Antarctic legacy by leading the charge for an East Antarctic Marine Park. 

The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) will hold the Thirty-ninth Meeting of the Commission, due to take place from Monday, October 26, 2020 to Friday November 6 2020. The CCAMLR was established by international convention in 1982 with the objective of conserving Antarctic marine life. This was in response to increasing commercial interest in Antarctic krill resources, a keystone component of the Antarctic ecosystem and a history of over-exploitation of several other marine resources in the Southern Ocean.

The Secretariat (international Headquarters) is at 181 Macquarie Street, Hobart, with 26 Members and a further 10 countries have signed the Convention.

In 2016 CCAMLR reached consensus and the Ross Sea Marine Protected Area in Antarctica, was established. The Ross Sea region Marine Protected Area covers 1.55 million square kilometres, of which 1.12 million square kilometres, or 72%, is fully protected (no fishing is permitted). It is the world’s largest Marine Protected Area.

The duration of the MPA has been set at 35 years for the General Protection Zone, with a consensus decision by the CCAMLR membership required to continue the MPA beyond this period.

A lower period of duration was agreed for the management provisions in the Special Research Zone. These restrictions on fishing will expire after 30 years, at which time the Scientific Committee will consider whether other measures are required to meet agreed science and protection objectives.

This MPA was preceded by the South Orkney Islands southern shelf MPA (established in 2009). 

Australia and the European Union are proposing an East Antarctic Marine Protected Area to contribute to a representative system of Antarctic MPAs. The East Antarctic MPA proposal provides important scientific reference zones for measuring the natural variability and long term changes in Antarctic marine living resources and ecosystems, essential for achieving sustainable fisheries and for estimating the long-term conservation requirements of the region.

The area contains sites of long term monitoring of marine mammals, seabirds and the formation of Antarctic Bottom Water, as well as areas important for understanding climate change impacts on Southern Ocean ecosystems and processes without interference. The size of the MPA is determined by the important summer foraging requirements of marine mammals, Adélie and Emperor penguins, and other seabirds during critical breeding periods and by its value for monitoring large scale ecosystem processes.

The East Antarctic MPA has been under consideration by the Commission since 2012. The next opportunity to progress the East Antarctic MPA proposal will be at the annual meeting of CCAMLR in Hobart in October. Hopefully that meeting can go ahead.

Our Federal Member for Mackellar, Jason Falinski, when contacted this week about World Oceans Day 2020, stated, “It is our responsibility here on the Northern Beaches to protect our beautiful beaches and waterways. From Palm Beach down to Manly the Pacific Ocean provides us with a big part of our lifestyle.” 

“I want to also use this day to reaffirm my commitment in opposing any drilling off the coast of the Northern Beaches.”

On this day Mackellar MP, Jason Falinski has demanded community commitment to Australia’s marine environment particularly here on the Northern Beaches. Seventy percent of the world’s oxygen comes from the ocean, and therefore while it may seem self-serving for a beaches community to demand action, an unhealthy marine environment will affect everyone.

The Federal Government has committed one hundred and sixty-seven million dollars to combat the amount of plastic waste entering our ocean through the Australian Recycling Investment Plan. This is in conjunction to the pre-existing ban of microbeads made by the liberal government.

“Thirteen million tonnes of plastic are estimated to enter our oceans across the world. This is why I support the Australian Recycling Investment Plan which will reduce the amount of plastics entering the ocean.”

Mr Falinski said: “We all need to think about what we can do to reduce our own use of plastics and non-recyclable materials. The less household rubbish we produce, the less likely it is to end up in our oceans.”

“World Oceans Day is one day that deserves more prominence and as a member of the Northern Beaches, I will continue to advocate for good government policy to protect our ocean environment.”

“World Ocean Day” was first proposed by the government of Canada at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.  As a result of a United Nations General Assembly resolution passed in December 2008, World Oceans Day is now officially recognised by the UN as June 8th each year.

The UN’s World Ocean Day theme this year is “Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean”.

Their message;

Our ocean is our future

When we think of public health risks, we may not think of the ocean. Increasingly, however, the health of the ocean is intimately tied to our health. Some may be surprised to read that organisms discovered at extreme depths are used to speed up the detection of COVID-19, and probably even more to learn that, it is the environment that could give a solution to humankind.

This is one of the multiple reasons why we should celebrate World Oceans Day: to remind everyone of the major role the oceans have in everyday life. They are the lungs of our planet, providing most of the oxygen we breathe. The purpose of the Day is to inform the public of the impact of human actions on the ocean, develop a worldwide movement of citizens for the ocean, and mobilize and unite the world’s population on a project for the sustainable management of the world's oceans. They are a major source of food and medicine and a critical part of the biosphere. In the end, it is a day to celebrate together the beauty, the wealth and the promise of the ocean.

Did you know?

  • Oceans serve as the world’s largest source of protein, with more than 3 billion people depending on the oceans as their primary source of protein
  • Over three billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods.
  • Oceans absorb about 30% of carbon dioxide produced by humans, buffering the impacts of global warming.

The UN World Oceans Day celebration this year will take place as a day long virtual event produced in partnership with Oceanic Global and be available to Australia on Monday, June 8th. The day will finish with a concert with performers from all over the world. The music will be preceded by keynote speeches, panels, and presentations with leading ocean voices including: Cara Delevingne, Jean-Michel Cousteau, Sylvia Earle, Forbi Perise Eyong Nyosai, Bill McKibben,  Ellie Goulding, Gayatri Reksodihardjo – Lilley and Lilly Platt. 

The event will shed light on innovations from around the globe in areas of need that are both promising and proven, ones that instil optimism, and ones that have demonstrated the ability to scale effectively. It will also provide a platform to thought leaders of varied backgrounds, who are paving new paths forward for the health of our ocean and our planet.

The programming of the day and subsequent events taking place throughout Ocean Week (week of June 8-12 2020) will explore innovations across categories including technology, systems infrastructure, resource management, consumer products, finance and scientific exploration — and will outline how these innovations can be applied, their potential impact, and the resources needed to transform them into long-lasting solutions.

This year's theme is especially relevant in the lead-up to the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, which will run from 2021 to 2030. The Decade aims to strengthen international cooperation to develop the scientific research and innovative technologies that can connect ocean science with the needs of society.

If our Ocean is Our Future then our future rises in our children and the generation reaching adulthood right now. Their perspective and voice is heard too.

Pittwater Online caught up this week with past Profilee and Artist of the Month Blaze Roberts, local surfer, model, surf photographer extraordinaire, past Living Ocean team rider for Lifeline NB Classic - and this year a HSC student at Freshwater Senior Campus. 

What does World Oceans Day mean to you? 

Growing up as a surfer means I am automatically an ocean environmentalist and an ocean lover!! I've grown up in and around the ocean and so for me, it is so important to protect our beautiful sea. I think making an effort to live a sustainable life and making positive environmental choices is so important to maintain the long jeopardy of the ocean and World Ocean Day is a day to recognise this and acknowledge that we are all so incredibly lucky to be able to get in the ocean every day!!!

What Ocean Activities do you undertake?

As I mentioned, I'm a surfer. I have been surfing since I was a toddler and have fallen in love with the ocean. If I'm not surfing, I am at the beach swimming. Everyone who knows me knows that I am in a bikini almost 24/7!!

How is the Surf Photography coming along?

I have been doing my surf photography since I was 12 (I'm 18 now) and I've always enjoyed it, but it has taken a back seat lately to other areas of my life including school and my own surfing. I have been definitely getting into it more as we head into winter and see more and more big swells. 

I'm doing my HSC this year and and planning on going to Macquarie University to study psychology and eventually become a research neuropsychologist, so for now, I am just trying to focus on doing the best I can in year 12.

Where can people see your images?

My personal Instagram where I document my everyday life, my own surfing, and my beachy lifestyle can be found at www.instagram.com/blazeangelroberts

My Facebook page for my surf photography is www.facebook.com/BlazeRobertsPhotography and my photography Instagram page is www.instagram.com/blazerobertsphotography

Which are your favourite aquatic environments and why?

I am obviously an ocean baby and I love going surfing and swimming at my local beach. I also do love traveling up the coast a bit and surfing at spots like Crescent Head and the Gold Coast but the oceans of Indonesia are amazing and the beaches/surf spots there would have to be some of my faves!!

You have taken up surfing on a longboard and are a Palm Beach Longboard member – how is that going? 

I have been surfing a shortboard since I started surfing and it wasn't until I had a couple of bad knee injuries in 2017 that I had to take a break from shortboarding for a while and pick up a longboard. I found that I quite enjoyed the longboarding scene and began competing a bit. In 2018 I was the Under 18 female Longboard State Champion for NSW and represented NSW at the Australian titles where I just missed out on a place in the final and finished with equal 5th in Australia. The next year I make it to the Australian titles again where I finished with the same result. I have won my overall division at Palm Beach Longboarders for the last 2 years and have really enjoyed competing on a longboard, although, I will also prefer surfing a shortboard! Haha

What will you be doing this World Oceans Day? 

There is nothing I would rather be doing than spending my day in the ocean doing what I love!!! 

Whether we’re in the water on Monday June 8th, World Oceans Day 2020, picking up that piece of fluttering plastic wrapper before it gets into the water today, taking a quiet moment to enjoy the view, the estuary birds, turtles, and penguins, catching a wave or bending a sail so it is filled with breeze, even just pulling out a weed, as we head into World Ocean Day and World Ocean Week before World Oceans Decade commences, all saltwater people will consciously make that extra nod to their aquatic mother. 

We will persist in standing up to defend all her whales, seals, penguins - those without a voice - whether far from here, or playing in the same waters that lap over our own toes, at home.

We will persist in requiring measures to be taken to protect her and reverse the rise in warming oceans and the damage that is doing. Persist in requiring any new developments do not encroach nor ruin further the natural flows; persist in requiring the over 60% of coastal wetlands in southern and eastern Australia lost in the last 200 years be restored.

We will picnic beside the sea with our families too, catch a breath of salt air and exhale, paddle to the point and back, wonder, as we scrub the hull clean, why we ever bought that tinny, cruiser, VJ. 

We do this every day, all year long.

And will, for as long as we live.

Report and pictures by A J Guesdon, 2020