World Oceans Day, commemorated on June 8, is used to raise awareness about the ocean, which covers over 70 percent of the planet, and its utmost importance to life on earth. It is our life source, supporting humanity’s sustenance and that of every other organism on earth.

The ocean produces at least 50 percent of the planet’s oxygen, is home to most of the earth’s biodiversity, and is the main source of protein for more than a billion people around the world. The ocean is also key to our economy with an estimated 40 million people being employed by ocean-based industries by 2030.

Here are four steps taken by Seychelles – 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean – to protect its ocean for life and livelihood.

30 percent of marine areas protected 10 years ahead of international targets

In March 2020, Seychelles legally designated 30 percent of its territorial waters as marine protected areas 10 years ahead of international targets.

With this historic marine designation, the island nation tripled the goal in line with the UN Convention of Biological Diversity Target 11 and the UN Sustainable Development Goal SDG-14, both which call for 10 percent marine protection by 2030.

This was achievable through Seychelles’ Marine Spatial Plan, the first comprehensive, large-scale Marine Spatial Plan in the western Indian Ocean, one of the first for a Small Island Developing State, and the second-largest Marine Spatial Plan in the world after Norway.

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