Healthy seas ensure food security – DENR

Rhodina Villanueva (The Philippine Star) - June 2, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – An official of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has stressed the urgency of preserving and restoring healthy and productive oceans with rich marine biodiversity to ensure food security and sustainable development.

“We have to rehabilitate our seas to secure their ability to produce sufficient food supply for the current and future generations. If we lose them, we will lose our supply of food and other needs,” director Theresa Mundita Lim of the Biodiversity Management Bureau said.

According to Lim, the sustainable use of marine resources is essential for ensuring long-term food security and protecting marine biodiversity, which is under severe threat from habitat loss, climate change, ocean acidification, pollution and overexploitation in commercial fisheries.

She pointed out that linking biodiversity and livelihood will “greatly impact people because it equates to investing in their lives.”

“Our oceans are part of ecosystems diversity together with forests, islands and seas, which include mangroves, seagrass beds, coral reefs and mud flats. All these should be cared for because they have their own vital functions and roles in the development of the agriculture and fisheries sectors and other marine-based livelihood,” Lim said.

The official likewise called attention to unsustainable fishing methods and indiscriminate garbage disposal in the seas, which she said should be stopped to prevent further damage to coral reefs and marine life.

She also reminded fishermen to be more concerned about the long-term effects of illegal fishing methods.

Lim issued the call as the nation celebrated the Month of the Ocean last May, with the theme “Biodiversity for Food SeaCUREity.”

The Philippines is fifth among only 17 megadiverse countries in the world declared by Conservation International in 1998. Its terrestrial and marine ecosystems are habitats for different birds, sea creatures, plants and other animals.

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