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This is probably almost old hat to most people who might read this, but this article once again rammed the point home with the pointed statement that “the ocean is broken.”


The project CoC was inspired, partially, by this issue. We are treating possibly the largest commons we have, the ocean, as a huge rubbish dump. We pull things out of it by breaking it, destroying masses of fish and their ecosystems for the prizes of tuna and other prime tastinesses. International waters such as these are outside of any nation’s control. There is no control of these commons. Which leads to players exploiting them beyond what is fair, reasonable, sustainable or even survivable.

But these are also the areas of freedom, where precisely the lack of control is so important. Sailors like Ivan Macfadyen, Bernhard Moitessier and thousands of others take to the seas because they offer a freedom that can rarely be found on land. People are able to find out what they themselves are up for, are capable of. There is some law out there on the sea, perhaps the most important being the requirement to attempt to help any mariner in distress. There is not much more. Rescue.

So I would claim, in a fit on naivety, that there is a massive disaster happening on the high seas. And our duty, as always, as people on the sea, as rescue organisations, as communities, is to lend a hand. There is not merely a few shipwrecked sailors holding on to an upturned hull or huddled in a liferaft, rather we have an ecosystem that is being beaten into submission by the actions of perhaps many, perhaps few. Many people’s waste is washing out to sea. A few companies and countries are stripping fisheries bare. But there is a call of Mayday that we cannot avoid hearing.

Let’s prepare the lifeboats and get out there.