International Day for Biological Diversity 2012

Marine Biodiversity was the theme for International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) in 2012. Designation of IDB 2012 on the theme of marine ecosystems provides Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and everyone interested in marine life, the opportunity to raise awareness of the issue and increase practical action.

How Much Life Is in the Sea?

From 2000 to 2010, an unprecedented worldwide collaboration by scientists around the world set out to try and determine how much life is in the sea.

Dubbed the ‘Census of Marine Life’, the effort involved 2,700 scientists from over 80 nations, who participated in 540 expeditions around the world. They studied surface seawater and probed the deepest, darkest depths of the ocean, sailed tropical seas and explored ice-strewn oceans in the Arctic and Antarctic.

By the time the Census ended, it had added 1,200 species to the known roster of life in the sea; scientists are still working their way through another 5,000 specimens to determine whether they are also newly-discovered species. The estimate of the number of known marine species - the species that have been identified and the ones that have been documented but await classification - has increased as a direct result of the Census efforts, and is now around 250,000. (This total does not include some microbial life forms such as marine viruses.) In its final report, the Census team suggested it could be at least a million. Some think the figure could be twice as high.

Marine and Coastal Biodiversity

Along the Coast

The Continental Shelf

The Open Ocean

The Deep

Great Migrations

The Human Impact

Causes of Decline

A Warmer Ocean

A More Acidic Ocean

The Problem of Over-Fishing

Why We Should Care

Blue Carbon

The Value of Marine Reserves

CBD and the Jakarta Mandate

CBD and the Jakarta Mandate

As part of its Jakarta Mandate on marine and coastal biodiversity, the Convention on Biological Diversity is committed to a series of specific goals including the development of a global system of marine and coastal protected areas, the establishment of and implementation of a global program of making fisheries and mariculture sustainable, blocking the pathways of invasions of alien species, increasing ecosystem resilience to climate change, and developing, encouraging, and enhancing implementation of wide-ranging integrated marine and coastal area management (IMCAM) that includes a broad suite of measures at all levels of society. The latter of these is of particular importance, involving comprehensive assessments, setting of objectives, planning and management of marine and coastal areas for all relevant economic and social sectors. It is a participatory process of combining all aspects of the physical, biological and human components of the marine and coastal areas within a holistic management framework. It involves all stakeholders – decision-makers in the public and private sectors; resource owners and users; managers and users; non-governmental organisations and the general public.

That is vital, because incorporating and empowering all sectors – from small coastal communities to political interests – and operating on a variety of levels, including voluntary community participation and legally binding frameworks, will be essential if we are to tackle the immensity and scope of the problems affecting marine and coastal biodiversity.

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