As stewards of the world’s richest biodiversity and marine resources, Pacific people were reminded that it is the responsibility of today’s generation to safeguard the ocean
Fijians were reminded that the “ocean is our single greatest natural endowment and a gift from God.”
“We are inextricably linked to the oceans,” said the Acting Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum and the incoming Pacific Ocean Commissioner, Dr Filimon Manoni at the World Ocean’s Day celebrations in Albert Park, Suva, Fiji Islands, today.
“For us here in the Pacific, the ocean is everything,” Dr Manoni said.
“For many of us, we only have the ocean and each other.
“It is indeed for many, the exclusive source of vitality, our existence, our livelihoods, our culture’s, our identity, aspirations, and of course, for the future of our children.”
He said it is the responsibility of today’s generation to safeguard the ocean that is “home to an incredible amount of marine life and biodiversity.”
“It should be our generation’s investment to guarantee that intergenerational equity and the legacy that we want to hand over to our children and their children and ensuring effective stewardship of this biodiversity.
“In the face of a multitude of challenges is our today’s generation’s responsibility.
“Let us take some responsibility. We have to understand better the climate-ocean nexus.
“We cannot ignore the pressing challenges of marine pollution, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, warming and acidification and the erosion of marine biodiversity.
“These issues are no longer distant threats. To the contrary, they are here at the forefront, requiring our undivided attention.”
The President of the Republic of Fiji, Wiliame Katonivere said “Our ocean and waves are not only vital for sustaining life on Earth, but also crucial for the overall well-being of our planet.”
He said the theme ‘Planet Ocean – Tides are changing’ is a reminder of the “urgent need to protect our oceans and reefs, preserve the delicate ecosystem and safeguard the complex wanting species that call them home.”
He emphasised Fiji is home to five species of marine turtles, but these species are at risk of extinction due to various threats.
However, “to address this, Fiji is focusing on data collection, research and knowledge enhancement to better make informed decisions and effectively manage the species.”
“The Ministry of Fisheries is prioritising nesting site monitoring, filling research gaps and implementing Fiji’s sea turtle recovering plan in collaboration with enforcement agencies and partners,” the President said.
“These coordinated efforts aim to save that nesting and foraging areas and set an example for successful conservation through collective action.”
He said the ocean “regulates our climate, provides sustenance to millions, and supports countless industries that fuel economic growth.
“This special connection with the ocean is no accomplishment.
“It is now more than ever bestows upon us responsibility as custodians and stewards of the world’s richest biodiversity, and marine resources that will benefit our current and future generations.
“Today is all about putting the oceans first.”