It’s that time of year again, when people around the world celebrate the beauty, resources, and enjoyment the ocean gives us. That’s right, today, June 8th is World Oceans Day!
The ocean provides so many benefits – without it, the world as we know it wouldn’t exist. Between 50 and 80 percent of the oxygen in the air we breathe comes from the ocean, mostly through plankton that drifts with the tides and currents. The ocean also helps reduce greenhouse gases by taking in carbon from the atmosphere. Weather patterns and our global climate depend upon ocean circulation to transport water between the equator and the poles. The ocean provides even more for us through food, medicine, recreation, and transportation to connect the global economy – we really should celebrate the ocean year-round!
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Marine Region works to ensure California’s ocean resources are sustainably managed. Our scientists and resource managers track recreational and commercial catches, monitor species health and abundance, research ways to restore depleted stocks, review proposed offshore projects, and conserve biodiversity in a network of marine protected areas (MPAs).
To adapt to the changing climate, staff are actively working with the fishing industry to transform the way we fish for Dungeness crab and swordfish, minimizing the risk of whale and sea turtle entanglements. We are also continuing to explore sea urchin mitigation and kelp restoration strategies for coastal waters in northern California areas with historically low kelp levels.
Our MPA program is working with our partners to develop the first decadal management review of California’s MPA Network. The report, scheduled for release in January 2023, will examine the achievements and challenges of California’s ecologically connected network of MPAs. This network was designed through a globally recognized public planning process to protect biodiversity and conserve California’s marine resources.
So get out on the ocean to fish, dive, swim, or surf! You can visit one of California’s 124 MPAs, or just marvel at the ocean from shore. We invite you to join us in our daily efforts to celebrate and sustain California’s ocean ecosystem and help make every day World Oceans Day!
post by CDFW Marine Region staff