The threats our oceans face today are significant and increasing. On top of climate change, overfishing, coastal development, and plastics and ocean debris continue to jeopardize the safety, security, and well-being of communities when they threaten ocean resources.
However, when oceans are healthy, the planet regains its natural strength and flourishes, people thrive, societies are prosperous, and the world is more peaceful. To protect our rapidly changing seas—and those who depend on them—we need to apply a bold way of thinking, one that tackles challenges in a systematic way and focuses on holistic improvements: place-based approaches.
Place-based or ‘seascape’ approaches have long been a focal point of ocean conservation, but they have traditionally focused on marine spatial planning, such as marine protected areas. However, in recent years these terms have become more common in the fisheries and aquaculture space, holding promise as a potential framework for scaling certification efforts to generate better, lasting outcomes for people and nature.
To be effective, a place-based approach must credibly and effectively address key sustainability issues in the context of cumulative impacts and multiple users, including Indigenous people and local communities. This is a major part of WWF’s oceans strategy, and we’re working closely with partners to develop a set of innovative approaches to achieve results that are grounded in science, yet viable for industry.
In this context, WWF and the Walmart Foundation launched a collaboration to scale more sustainable and responsible seafood transformation by developing and piloting a holistic, place-based approach.
The initiative will replace the old way of thinking with a more comprehensive, seascape approach to sustainable seafood that uses global market solutions and innovative financing strategies to provide greater, more equitable outcomes for our oceans and coastal communities.
While this specific project will focus on the biodiversity-rich, 4,000-mile coastline of Chile, we plan to create a comprehensive framework that people can scale to other seascapes.
This framework demonstrates our broader ocean strategy in action, and how it manifests in our markets and finance work. We are launching two new major initiatives: nature-positive business, which taps into the potential of businesses to transform corporate stewardship with new modes of working to restore nature, and blue finance, which redirects money toward sustainable investments in seascapes and coastal communities where it’s most needed. Both are aimed at leveraging private sector action to deliver scalable, durable global oceans solutions that impact ocean productivity and resilience. Read more about our Oceans Markets and Finance Strategy here.
Today, entire sectors are transforming. And it would be a shame for anyone to be left behind.