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Ocean Sustainable Development: Time for Action is Long Overdue says Former President Michel

Ocean Sustainable Development: Time for Action is Long Overdue says Former President Michel

Former President James Michel has called on Ocean Industry leadership from across the globe to support a call for large parts of the high seas which remains unregulated at the moment to be declared fully protected areas to be respected by all countries and ocean users. This he says will ensure that ecosystems and resources of the high seas remain in good shape for the benefit of generations to come.

Mr. Michel made the call in an address to ocean industry leaders at a dinner organised by the World Ocean Council on the first day of the 6th Sustainable Ocean Summit in Hong Kong on Wednesday.

The world needs a new breed of innovative entrepreneurs to tap into the vast potentials that the oceans present, who will be profitable but at the same time ensure that their own activities and that of their partners and suppliers are sustainable.

He recommended that maritime transportation technology engineers be pushed to the limit to develop carbon efficient vessels and also explore the possibility of making use of renewable energy sources to power vessels.

Mr. Michel also called for the use of Fish Attracting Devices (FAD) be discontinued or banned as they are indiscriminate of the species and sizes of seafood they attract, and which are eventually caught up in the nets. “The fishing industry can tap into technological advances in satellite and other communications platforms instead which are enabling the development of systematic observations in the deep oceans and even under the ice” he advises.

With regards to plastic pollution he encouraged the business community to support the establishment of waste treatment facilities as well as clean –up operations, especially on islands and coastal areas with the aim of limiting the amount of plastics and waste from making it to the ocean.

In addition he proposed that the United Nations consider the WOC as an official partner of its agencies involved with regulating the oceans so as to create synergies between the UN and all maritime stakeholders.

At small islands states level Mr. Michel proposed some ideas for practical steps that will mark progress. They include a one stop global shop window for good ideas and practical projects that will further the cause of the Blue Economy, encourage small islands to develop centres for excellence for one specific activity (like Seychelles can be the home of progressive Blue Economy management schemes, Samoa or Fiji a for waste management and Cape Verde for tidal energy solutions), bring more women into the maritime workforce and encourage new ideas for sustainable development, an annual award by the UN for the greatest contributions to the sustainable use of our shared ocean and the creation of a focused  business leadership group, concentrating on the Blue Economy in small islands states.

Mr, Michel was addressing the Summit at the invitation of the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the World Ocean Council, Mr. Paul Holthus.

This year’s edition under the theme “Ocean Sustainable Development: Connecting Asia and the World” has attracted a large number of global ocean business industry leaders, inter and non-governmental organisations the science community and academics.

The Seychelles Petroleum Company SEYPEC was also being represented by its Legal and Corporate Officer, Alvine Marie.

The James Michel Foundation was also being represented by the Vice Chair, Professor Denis Hardy and Acting Chief Executive Officer, Antoine Onezime.


Note: The full version of the speech is available at:

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