Today, June 8th, is the first United Nations recognized celebration of World Oceans Day. Although World Oceans Day has long been organized and celebrated by activists and ocean lovers around the globe, this is the first year the UN has officially sanctioned the event.

World Oceans Day is an international day to raise awareness about ocean health. Unfortunately, all is not well in our waters.

Human activities are exacting a “terrible toll” on the world's oceans and seas, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned today in a stern message marking the United Nations involvement in World Oceans Day.

“Vulnerable marine ecosystems, such as corals, and important fisheries are being damaged by over-exploitation, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, destructive fishing practices, invasive alien species and marine pollution, especially from land-based sources,” explained Mr. Ban.

He added that increased sea temperatures, rising sea levels, and ocean acidification from climate change, and pollution are causing further damage and pose a threat to marine life, coastal and island communities and national economies.

“The theme of World Oceans Day, “Our oceans, our responsibility”, emphasizes our individual and collective duty to protect the marine environment and carefully manage its resources. Safe, healthy and productive seas and oceans are integral to human well-being, economic security and sustainable development,” he explained.

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