National Marine Week 2016
Each year the Department, through its Branch: Oceans and Coasts, celebrates National Marine Week, during the second week of October, in order to highlight the importance of oceans and the role they play in the life of all South Africans. National Marine Week is designed to create a platform to engage with the youth and the public to enable the department to fulfil its commitment.
The outreach campaign aims to raise awareness for conservation of the ocean and coastal ecosystems. The awareness campaign is aimed at educating the general public, but particularly the youth – enticing young minds to the field of marine related professions. It endeavours to bring science to life to allow politicians, public and the young to understand the value of the role of the oceans. An exhibition is set up that focuses on the marine environment, where an experience is created for the visitors, while imparting information.
Theme: Our Ocean, Our Future
- Our ocean is the key to our future;
- Every drop of water, every breath connects us to the ocean
The ocean covers more than 70% of the Earth's surface, connecting the world, providing some of the most important and basic economic, cultural, and environmental functions, with many untapped natural resources and unrecognised ecosystem services. But the ocean is under threat, stressed by modern lifestyles and the increasing demands of a growing global population. The Marine Week programme will aim to address the challenges and opportunities facing oceans today, in particular focussing on waste management. The majority of litter and waste that is found in the ocean is from land based activities.
The theme will allow the campaign to highlight and celebrate all aspects of the ocean and at the same time educate South Africans on the importance of the ocean and the opportunities it provides. The theme also offers continuity, as it build on messages communicated over the past two years. It was anticipated that this theme will be used over a five year period, extending over the next two years. This affords the opportunity to build up outreach material and resources.
The National Marine Week 2016 campaign will continue to commemorate and highlight what government has achieved in the ocean and coastal domain within the fields of scientific research, coastal management and oceans conservation. The campaign will also show the investment government has made to ensure the integrity of the marine environment, within our own Exclusive Economic Zone and beyond, and how this affects ordinary South Africans.
The highlights will show how DEA’s involvement in the ocean and coastal domain evolved from a fisheries orientated to a holistic environmental focus that serve the broader sector of society and responding to government imperatives. This includes the strides made in achieving this since the launch of Operation Phakisa.
The Operation Phakisa initiatives around Northern Cape will be highlighted through relevant partners such as local Aquaculture Industries. The global theme this year is focussed on marine pollution, particularly plastics, will be presented to the visitors to create the dialogue of how South Africans are affecting the ocean. The exhibition will profile the South African link to the ocean – the role of coastal and inland communities in dealing with the global challenge of pollution.
The exhibition will also highlight an understanding of the link between pollution and ocean health. This will involve an articulation of the impact of key pollutants on ocean goods and services and an influence on the delivery systems (social, natural and physical) of these pollutants. Pollutants of interest include, but are not limited to, pollutants from agriculture, manufacturing, industry and shipping and waste, such as sewage, plastics, and toxins. Researchers in this work package should be prepared to integrate their methods and results with related research efforts.
In the Northern Cape there are two major rivers. The Vaal and Orange rivers play a significant role in the composition of the coastal waters due to the volume of inflow. The activities that happen around the inland rivers will ultimately affect the estuaries that are a continuation of those rivers which eventually lead to the local coastal environment. Water pollution impacts (freshwater and estuaries) will take place with activities like agricultural activities, sewage from municipalities, effluent discharges from the industries and all the developments that are taking place within the area. These impacts are unavoidable in many instances but must be managed responsibly.
The exhibition will include a career information focused on marine related professions, particularly for school learners. The Department will be given the opportunity to display relevant work.