Conserving the blue half of the planet
The high and deep seas cover half the surface area of our planet, are home to untold diversity of life, and act as a critical support system for all life on earth. They are under serious threat from unsustainable and destructive fishing, and new activities like deep seabed mining. Despite this, marine conservation for the high and deep seas is drastically underfunded, and their importance is overlooked.
Our High and Deep Seas Programme focuses on protecting the ocean, supporting and promoting effective action. This includes work on EU fisheries policy, on global regulation through the United Nations and on research and campaigning, as well as in major areas where intervention is urgently needed to protect habitats, deep sea fish and other species in the forgotten reaches of the ocean.
* Images (L to R): Wikimedia Commons; Shutterstock; NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research
“Emptying the ocean at the pace we are currently doing is a huge issue. We need to look at the reality of subsidies out there, whether it’s access to private banking or public subsidies, to ensure that we stop creating a financial incentive to destroy the ocean. When I say destroying the ocean, there is no question that is what we are doing – we’re destroying marine habitats, fish populations and jobs which depend on fish populations.”
Claire Nouvian, Bloom Association
Partner Profile: Bloom Association
Bloom Association is a small but mighty French NGO fighting to prevent destruction of the marine environment. Among their many achievements, they were instrumental in getting a ban on deep-sea trawling below 800 metres in the Northeast Atlantic which came into force at the beginning of 2017.
Founder Claire Nouvian was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize (Europe) in 2018 for her work to combat deep-sea trawling. Bloom is also conducting powerful campaigns on sustainable fishing and damaging electric fishing.
Image © Goldman Environmental Prize
“What I particularly like is that Synchronicity Earth really think about what they are supporting and funding and the result of that has been a focus on some areas which other people have neglected – in terms of funding – but which are incredibly important.”
Alex Rogers, Professor of Conservation Ecology, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford
Spotlight on Species: Sea Toad (Chaunacops coloratus)
Image © NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research
Chaunacops coloratus is a species of ‘sea toad’ – a group of bottom-dwelling deep-sea fishes that have charmed scientists with their unusual appearance and grumpy facial expression.
These species are related to frogfishes of tropical waters, and deep-sea anglerfishes that famously use a bioluminescent lure to attract prey. Sea toads also have a lure that sits in a depression between their eyes and has been described as looking like a small mop. Scientists think this might also use light, or perhaps an attractive smell, to entice prey. Sea toads have strange, feet-like fins, which are modified to allow hem to perch on the seafloor. Like myriad other deep-sea species, there is still a lot to discover about sea toads and their fascinating way of life.