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Europe and Central Asia
6 Jul 2015

SEA ALERT

Spanish coast © Chodaboy, Flickr
By Luca Bonaccorsi

As millions of Europeans go to the beach (or dream about it) the seas are dying. Only 5.9% is protected and the Mediterranean is almost entirely overfished. This is not the time for less protection, it’s time for #naturealert

It covers more than 2/3 of planet Earth. Nearly half of the worlds population relies on it for a substantial portion of its vital proteins. And when it comes to climate change, it's the largest carbon sink we have. We are talking about our seas of course. So we must be doing everything we can to take care of these precious resources that are like a synonym of life itself, right?

Not really.

Instead, we poison our seas with all sorts of waste and pillage their resources relentlessly.

Europe unfortunately is no exception to the exploitation and destruction of life at sea: only 5,9% of the EU marine area is protected and the Mediterranean is almost completely overfished.

That is why, with possibly millions of Europeans flocking to beaches to enjoy a cool dip in the water, we decided to dedicate this month's issue to the marine world (particularly the seabirds, of course).

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Why is Europe so bad at caring for its seas? It's not that we lack knowledge or laws to protect them. Instead, short-sighted economic interests have long overshadowed scientific knowledge and sound economics, and when it comes to laws… well, they're mostly ignored and now possibly under revision.

The Natura 2000 network of protected natural areas, created with the Habitats Directive in 1992, did envisage the inclusion of marine areas, too. But today, marine protected areas are still not being designated, and national governments mostly get away with it. To make matters worse, the laws itself is now under attack.

The marine side of the environmental emergency in Europe is too often ignored. That is why our campaign #naturealert becomes #seaalert in July. But, remember, whether you feel“green”or“blue, the place to show that you care is still www.birdlife.org/naturealert. You've already participated, right?

 

This article appears in our July 2015 newsletter. Sign up here to read more stories like this.


Stichting BirdLife Europe gratefully acknowledges financial support from the European Commission. All content and opinions expressed on these pages are solely those of Stichting BirdLife Europe.