Minister Barbara Creecy Urges Action on World Oceans Day 2023

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world oceans day marine sustainability

The oceans, which cover most of the Earth’s surface, are crucial to the planet’s survival. They provide fresh air, regulate the climate, and ensure food security. During the World Oceans Day celebration aboard the SA Agulhas II Research vessel in Cape Town Harbour, Minister of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment, Ms. Barbara Creecy, pointed out the responsibility to protect the oceans and marine life. She underlined the need for collaboration with local and international partners to ensure the long-term sustainability of oceans.

South Africa’s Unique Geological Location and Contribution to Scientific Research

South Africa’s unique geographical location, surrounded by the Atlantic, Southern, and Indian Oceans, has made significant contributions to scientific research. The country’s research efforts in Antarctica and Marion Islands have helped understand the oceans’ impact on marine life and the health of the planet. The SA Agulhas II has played a crucial role in these endeavors.

World Oceans Day 2023 Theme: “Planet Ocean: Tides Are Changing”

World Oceans Day 2023’s theme, “Planet Ocean: Tides are Changing,” reminds us of the unprecedented challenges the seas face. The oceans provide various resources to humans, and it is everyone’s responsibility to protect them. Minister Creecy stresses the need for partnerships to address the oceans’ critical role in sustaining life on Earth. She also highlights the urgent need to combat threats such as climate change, pollution, overfishing, and habitat destruction.

Developing Marine Sector Plans for Sustainable Coexistence

To promote different sectors’ coexistence using the ocean, the Department of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment is developing Marine Sector Plans as part of the Marine Spatial Planning process. These plans encompass various sectors, including individuals, communities, fishers, and the mining sector. Ten draft Marine Sector Plans have already been published for public comment.

Researching the Impact of Seismic Surveys on Marine Environment

Last year, Minister Creecy committed to researching the impact of seismic surveys on the marine environment. The Department is assessing international best practices to mitigate the impact of these surveys and is determining how to implement them in local ocean areas. Collaborating with the Petroleum Agency of South Africa and the Council for Geo Science, they are mapping historic records of seismic surveys to evaluate any impacts observed during previous surveys.

Open Days on SA Agulhas II to Educate Learners and the Public

World Oceans Day celebrations include Open Days for learners on 8 and 9 June 2023, taking place aboard the SA Agulhas II, docked at Cape Town harbour. The public will also have the opportunity to tour the SA Agulhas II on 10 and 11 June 2023, learning about South Africa’s polar and research vessel’s work to monitor, research, and protect the oceans and marine life.

These World Oceans Day Open Days, hosted by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment, aim to educate learners about the significance of oceans and their role in daily life. The initiative also seeks to inspire South Africans to take action toward a sustainable future and actively protect the oceans.

Environment Month Activities

To learn more about the Department’s Environment Month activities, visit

A Russian-Spanish journalist and Cape Town native, channels his lifelong passion for South Africa into captivating stories for his local blog. With a diverse background and 50 years of rich experiences, Serjio's unique voice resonates with readers seeking to explore Cape Town's vibrant culture. His love for the city shines through in every piece, making Serjio the go-to source for the latest in South African adventures.

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