The influence of man’s activities on Earth, more precisely on its biosphere, is such that without any doubt we can say that we live on a planet whose ecosystems dominate people. Ecosystems that are not under some form of anthropogenic influence no longer exist and the world seas are not only an exception but they are particularly vulnerable as it is often treated as a kind of inexhaustible reservoir.
For this reason, even in the last century it becomes clear that the sea, including the estuaries, the seaside, the coastal waters and the open ocean, loses biodiversity at great speed and shows changes in the functioning of the ecosystem.
There are numerous anthropogenic threats to marine biodiversity that appear at different time and space levels, from local short-term pollution to long-term regional impact of fishing, eutrophication, climate change, introduced species and other disorders.
Unlike land ecosystems, where habitat loss is the root cause of population decline and species erosion, over-exploitation is recognized as the major threat to marine biodiversity to such an extent that we can conclude that man as the predominant marine predator systematically devours marine organisms to extinction.
Some of the possible consequences of anthropogenic pressures on the marine environment:
- Economic losses through unemployment and reduced productivity
- Drastically reducing the number of edible marine organisms
- Extinction of species that are a potential source of new drugs
- Reduced ability of the ecosystem to respond to changes, both natural and anthropogenic
- Accelerating global climate change
- Social and political instability
The results of such behavior have broad social, economic and biological consequences that go beyond national and regional borders and can only be successfully solved by co-operation at the international level and within global frameworks. However, it should be borne in mind at the same time that global initiatives cannot be a substitute for local conservation efforts, national regulation and regional cooperation in the protection of the sea.
The Association Sunce thinks that the man has to use the resources and opportunities offered by the marine environment by simultaneously protecting ecological processes and systems. This is the foundation of sustainable development and can only be achieved by accepting appropriate management methods.
Therefore, our efforts are directed towards the establishment and implementation of effective plans for the management of marine protected areas and areas of the Natura 2000 network at sea, the development and improvement of professional capacity of employees in the marine protection sector in Croatia and the region, carrying out mapping and tracking of marine species and habitats, the adoption of better legal measures for the protection of the sea and the management of the sea resources, as well as the education and information to the public on processes related to the preservation of the marine environment.
Successful and sustainable management of the world’s seas requires a broad, transdisciplinary approach that can integrate natural and social sciences with the process of adopting legal regulations and must be based on a solid scientific basis.