Shutdown of activities amid COVID-19 is helping recover marine environment: UN

Shutdown of activities amid COVID-19 is helping recover marine environment: UN

Agency News

Geneva, May 13 : The COVID-19 pandemic, which has significantly reduced shipping and industry production worldwide, may provide a much-needed reprieve for the marine ecosystems to recuperate from the overwhelming pollution, the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) said on Wednesday.

"The COVID-19 pandemic may create a small window for stocks to recover if it leads to a global slowdown of the commercial fishing industry, as travel constraints, access restrictions and closed ports contribute to a decline in active fishing vessels. Moreover, if demand for fish declines because of activity in restaurants globally and as a result of a global economic recession, resuming fishing operations may take time.

This could be beneficial to stocks, as fish would be able to go through their spawning cycle, allowing some stock of some species to replenish during a sufficiently long slowdown," the UN ESCAP said in a report. Despite the timeout provided by the ongoing pandemic, the well-being of oceans in the AsiaPacific is reaching "a tipping point" due to the overwhelming pace of marine pollution, overfishing and climate change in recent years, the organisation underlined. "Promoting the health and sustainability of oceans is inextricably linked with the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific. During these challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is crucial to take advantage of the window of opportunity offered by reduced emissions and energy demand to protect the marine environment," Chief of UN ESCAP Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana said at a launch of the report, which calls for stepping up regional efforts on sustainable ocean management. In March, World Ocean Council President Paul Holthus had said in an interview to Russian news agency Sputnik that the Global Ocean was benefiting from the reduction of pollution brought about by temporarily disrupted air traffic and diminished production due to the COVID19 pandemic. (UNI)