8 Apr 2019 - OPINION - Tom Dillon - Ask people what's most important to them and there's a good chance they'll say, "Staying healthy - and keeping my family healthy." But they might not realize that the health, economic well-being, and safety of their families and communities very much depend on the health of our oceans, which cover 70% of the earth and face threats ranging from warming waters and diminishing fish stocks to plastics pollution and dying reefs. Protecting this ecosystem is critical to human health: The ocean filters our air, controls the weather, and provides food for billions of people. Yet, collectively, global leaders have not done nearly enough to ensure the long-term sustainability of the marine environment.
World Health Day, on April 7, is an opportune time to make the health of the oceans a top priority for governments around the world. One achievable first step would be ending the subsidies that enable overfishing and illegal fishing. Today, one-third of all fished stocks are exploited at unsustainable levels and another 60 percent are fished to capacity, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization. A significant part of this overfishing is driven by subsidies - most of which go to the owners of large-scale fishing fleets to help pay for fuel, gear, and boat construction.
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