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 | 28-02-2024

Oceans lobbyist

Why the oceans need a lobby



On February 16, 2024, the newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung dedicated an entire page in its print edition to the important topic of water and marine resources. Süddeutsche Zeitung described our managing partner Dr. Alexis Katechakis, a marine biologist and aquatic ecologist with a doctorate, as a “lobbyist for the oceans”. Alexis’ determination to advocate for oceans comes from – among other things – one key experience: During a dive off Sulawesi (Indonesia), he witnessed a majestic manta ray sucking in a plastic bag through its large mouth and then regurgitating it again through its sensitive gills. "I want us to develop respect for the oceans again. Overheating, acidification, overfishing, over-fertilization, pollution: we must finally recognize the valuable ecosystem services they provide for us and that we are dependent on intact oceans."  

We have summarized why the oceans need a larger lobby.

Deep sea knowledge – as small as the head of a pin  

Although there is no light in the deep sea, there is a lot of life. Researchers find new species almost every time they take samples. Unfortunately, we are increasingly endangering this fascinating ecosystem. Recently also on the seabed.

Excavators the size of tanks for mining manganese nodules

Manganese nodules are in the sights of economic interest due to their metal and rare earth content. They are the size of a child's fist and take many millions of years to grow to this size. These laboriously grown tubers are at risk of being dismantled using heavy equipment. To do this, huge excavators are used at depths of up to 6,000 meters, leaving behind maximum destruction on the seabed in a literal black box. Neither have we even begun to understand this black box nor do we know how important it is to us.

2050: More trash than fish

By 2050, the amount of trash in the oceans will exceed the mass of fish. The plastic islands floating on the sea surface will only be the tip of the frightening mountain of garbage – because only 1 % of the garbage that ends up in the sea is visible. Nobody knows for sure what influence the remaining 99 % has in the lower ocean zones.

Without oceans, the average temperature on Earth would be around 30°C higher

The oceans also play a crucial role in climate protection: they have absorbed 90 % of the thermal energy that we have created by burning fossil fuels since the Industrial Revolution. Without this effect, the average temperature on Earth would be around 30°C higher and conditions hostile to life would prevail in almost all parts of the world. 0.1 degrees of water warming at a depth of two kilometers is not a small thing, but an alarm.  


The entire interview, which also reveals what the Hoff crab, which is named after David Hasselhoff, is all about, can be found here. The detailed portrait can be found here.