Lewis Pugh has announced his next global campaign Seven Swims in the Seven Seas for One Reason which aims to raise awareness about the importance of creating Marine Protected Areas. Pugh will become the first person to undertake long distance swims in each of the Seven Seas, including the Mediterranean, Adriatic, Aegean, Black, Red, Arabian and North Sea. These are some of the most polluted and over-fished seas in the world. Several high profile dignitaries will join sections of his campaign including Prince Albert II of Monaco, who will be sailing alongside him during the Mediterranean Sea swim.
Roughly 13% of the world’s land lies in a protected area, but less than 3% of the ocean’s surface is protected – nearly all of that in coastal areas. As a maritime lawyer, Pugh is also working to assist countries in passing the relevant legislation needed to create and maintain MPAs within compliance guidelines set by the UN.
“MPAs are great for fish, great for tourism and least we forget it, great for us humans. We rely on the health of our oceans to survive. MPAs improve the health of our oceans by protecting and restoring marine habitats, they protect species and help rebuild fish stocks and they increase resilience to environmental changes,” said Pugh.
Pugh is a well known ocean swimmer and one of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)’s Patron for Oceans. The United Nations is encouraging policy makers around the world to meet a target of establishing at least 10% of their waters as a network of well-managed and well-designed Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) by 2020 and to educate the public and media about Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and their benefits.
“The establishment of Marine Protected Areas is a critical component of global efforts to reverse the degradation of our oceans,” said UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner. “UNEP applauds Lewis Pugh’s latest expedition, which will spotlight the importance of MPAs and increase global attention to the plight of the world’s oceans.” “Land-based pollution, poorly managed coastal development, overfishing and climate change are all major threats which can be reduced if governments work together and set ambitious targets. Over the last 40 years, the UNEP Regional Seas Programme has actively supported member states in such efforts, including in the creation and management of Marine Protected Areas,” he added.