- Amid growing concern that over-fishing and other activities are taking a severe toll on marine ecosystems, some of the world's leading researchers and environmental groups will gather in Mexico from May 30 - June 3, 2003 to develop a blueprint for protecting marine species and environments.
The conference, called Defying Ocean's End (DOE), will draw on the expertise of marine scientists, conservationists, economists, communications specialists and representatives from more than 20 countries to tackle issues like creating marine protected areas, restoring degraded marine ecosystems and ocean governance, among others. Working with a team of business leaders, DOE will generate an action plan and a "price tag" that will give the research community practical, global and comprehensive guidelines for protecting marine ecosystems.
"The consequences of mankind's abuse are being seen as never before in collapsing fish populations, biodiversity loss, and physical and chemical changes that are leading to the decline of entire ecosystems," said Dr. Sylvia Earle, the Executive Director of Conservation International's Global Marine Program. "We have a unique and fleeting opportunity to respond to this crisis, learn from centuries of land management experience, and move beyond localized and ad hoc initiatives - however good they may be - to coordinated global action."
A study in the May issue of Nature found that 90 percent of all tuna, swordfish and marlin populations - along with many other large predator fish species - had disappeared over the last 50 years.
Convened by Gordon Moore and Dr. Earle, the meeting marks the first time some of the world's largest environmental groups will work together to restore the health of the world's ocean. Conservation International, the World Wildlife Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council, The Nature Conservancy, The Ocean Conservancy, Wildlife Conservation Society and The World Conservation Union (IUCN) are collaborating in the effort.
The event is made possible by sponsorship from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, BP.p.l.c, Environmental Systems Research Institute, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, The Henry Foundation and an anonymous donor.
(CI) applies innovations in science, economics, policy and community participation to protect the Earth's richest regions of plant and animal diversity in the hotspots, major tropical Wilderness Areas and key marine ecosystems. With its headquarters in Washington, D.C., CI works in more than 30 countries on four continents. For more information about CI's programs, visit www.conservation.org