06 Jun 2013 12:00
SWAKOPMUND, 06 JUN (NAMPA) - The Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Bernhard Esau says without oceans, humans would not be able to survive.
Oceans cover just over 70 per cent of the earth?s surface and contain 80 per cent of all life, Esau said in a speech read on his behalf by his Permanent Secretary, Ulitala Hiveluah at the official opening of the Benguela Current Large Marine Youth Summit here on Thursday.
?The direct and indirect benefits provided by the world?s oceans are many and are essential to supporting all lives on earth,? he stated.
In Namibia alone, the fishing industry provides direct employment to over 13 000 people, and is one of the top contributors to Namibia?s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
?If we think about food security, the oceans provide the largest source of protein on earth, particularly to the poorest and most vulnerable people in coastal communities,? he indicated.
Over three billion people around the world rely on marine resources for their livelihood.
In addition to the provision of food, the oceans and associated coastal areas also host a number of other industries, such as marine transport, mineral exploitation and mining, energy supply, real estate and housing development, tourism, amongst other things, Esau noted.
?Despite all these benefits, we still have yet to fully understand the complexity of the functioning of our oceans and the ecosystem linkages with associated coastal ecosystem. So too our understanding of the pressures we are placing on our oceans and coasts,? he stated.
Poor coastal development, overfishing and destructive fishing methods and global change caused by human activities are some of the main threats to the health of the oceans.
It is only fitting that the youth are supported to be part of the solution, the Fisheries Minister said, adding that the future leaders, activists, citizens and parents can ?start now to drive change for their future?.
In March this year Namibia, Angola and South Africa signed the Benguela Current Convention and created the first commission of its kind in the world that works with different sectors and stakeholders to improve the ocean governance of the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem.
About 30 youths are attending the summit, which ends on Saturday.