Corals create spectacular undersea ecosystems that are home to thousands of plant and animal species. The integrity of these "rainforests of the sea" is threatened by human activities including illegal and unsustainable fishing, global warming and pollution.
Less than 1.2% of the world's oceans are protected - far below the 10% target set by the Convention on Biological Diversity. The best ways we can save corals from disappearing are by creating Marine Protected Areas to extend these protections, and phasing out bottom trawling - the world's most destructive fishing technique. By taking these two steps, the United Nations can safeguard coral ecosystems and their diverse marine life.
The Marine Conservation Institute and Chantecaille Beaute are joining forces in urging the United Nations to create a network of new Marine Protected Areas to protect vibrant coral ecosystems and to eliminate bottom trawling on the High Seas. Please help us make a difference in the oceans by joining us!
We, the undersigned, applaud the United Nations General Assembly resolution on Oceans and Sustainable Fisheries which calls on high seas fishing nations to take stronger actions to protect deep sea life, but the UN must go further to make these words a reality in the oceans. We urge the UN to further protect corals and other vulnerable ocean habitats by creating a network of new Marine Protected Areas around the world, and to work to end the greatest threat to corals on the high seas, namely bottom trawling.
We urge the UN to start by saving the following areas as part of a global network of Marine Protected Areas:
Emperor Seamounts - A spectacular chain of underwater mountains stretching from Hawaii to Japan that are home to vibrant deep-sea coral communities
Ross Sea - A biologically rich wonder in the waters of Antarctica, home to penguins, seals, whales and a stunning diversity of life on the seafloor
Saya de Malha Banks - A very large seagrass-coral ecosystem off the East coast of Africa where migrating sea turtles feed
Spratly Islands - A magnificent undersea area of dazzling corals in waters off Southeast Asia
Sargasso Sea-the legendary gyre in the North Atlantic Ocean where European and American eels spawn, where floating islands of Gulfweed host unique ecosystems of golden algae, unique pipefishes and baby sea turtles
We also urge the UN to join the growing global movement to end bottom trawling. While bottom trawlers represent a small number of fishing vessels on the high seas, their impacts are devastating to ocean life. Trawling vessels drag huge nets bristling with steel doors and heavy rollers across the seabed, pulverizing life in their path. Fragile deep-water corals stand no chance against these devastating fishing techniques. The damage from bottom trawling is akin to clear-cutting or strip-mining the coral landscape. As citizens of the Earth, we urge the UN to end this wasteful and destructive practice now.
In partnership with the Marine Conservation Institute and Chantecaille Beaute, thank you in advance for protecting our precious coral habitats, part of the common heritage of mankind.
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