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World Oceans Day marked by calls to protect the oceans

It is because of the importance of the oceans to our planet and the importance of protecting and preserving them that the United Nations has declared 8 June World Oceans Day.

At the end of 2022, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Spatial Planning adopted the Decree on the Marine Environment Management Plan for the Period 2022–2027 building on the measures for the protection and sustainable management of the sea from the previous period (2016–2021). The vision of the Marine Environment Management Plan 2022–2027 is to ensure, through measures designed with an ecosystem approach in mind, a clean, healthy, biodiverse marine environment that is productive and, when used sustainably, will provide marine ecosystem services.

The Marine Environment Management Plan 2022–2027 addresses, inter alia, the following key challenges for the protection and sustainable use of the Slovenian Sea:

  • Conserving and preventing the decline of biodiversity, which is essential for a healthy marine environment and is an immeasurable quality of the Slovenian Sea, through effective management of protected areas and ensuring the connectivity of marine habitats;
  • Preventing overexploitation of the marine environment through effective and coordinated maritime spatial planning and other spatial measures, as many activities (maritime transport, tourism, recreation, mariculture, etc.) are already taking place in and around the Slovenian Sea;
  • Ensuring sustainable use of marine resources and thus a source of food for people through sustainable marine fisheries measures;
  • Cross-border cooperation, as the Slovenian Sea is part of the Adriatic Sea marine sub-region and the Mediterranean Sea region. We need to be aware that there are no borders at sea, and effective cooperation with neighbouring maritime countries and other countries in the sub-region and the region is therefore of paramount importance for the protection and sustainable management of the Slovenian Sea. This year, Slovenia will host the 23rd Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention (Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea), which will take place from 4 to 8 December in Portorož. The meeting of Ministers of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention is also expected to address different scenarios for the development of the Mediterranean area and related decisions to strengthen environmental and climate sustainability.

Over the last few years, there has been a growing awareness that the unsustainable management of marine ecosystems by society has significant negative impacts on the seas. The consequences are manifested in seas being heavily burdened with litter, underwater noise and pollutants as well as in decline in economically important fish populations and other marine organisms, and in biodiversity. Climate change is also an important threat to the quality of marine habitats, with significant impacts on changes in the dynamics of marine ecosystem processes.

The theme of World Oceans Day 2023 is "Tides are Changing", which calls on all stakeholders to take as active a role as possible in protecting and conserving the oceans.