Do you also get nervous from the plastic bag floating around?

I want to show you the beauty underwater,
but not without the reality of seeing plastic around and

other factors that impact sea life.

As we can’t get rid of the plastic in the ocean that easily,
you won’t be able to get rid of this plastic bag flying by neither.

But, while working on this portfolio, I’ve read lots about promising projects too. 
I’ll share some with you.

Sustainable Development Goal 14 of the United Nations aims to “conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development”.
Achieving this goal will require rebuilding the marine life-support systems that deliver the many benefits that society receives from a healthy ocean.


A recent research paper in Nature points out that substantial rebuilding across many components of marine life by 2050 is an achievable Grand Challenge for science and society.

“Meeting this challenge requires immediate action to reduce relevant pressures, including climate change, safeguarding places of remaining abundance, and recovering depleted populations, habitats and ecosystems elsewhere. This will require sustained perseverance and substantial commitment of financial resources, but we suggest that the ecological, economic and social gains will be far-reaching. Success requires the establishment of a committed and resilient global partnership of governments and societies aligned with this goal, supported by coordinated policies, adequate financial and market mechanisms, and evolving scientific and technological advances that nurture a fast learning curve of rebuilding interventions.” Duarte, C.M., Agusti, S., Barbier, E. et al. Rebuilding marine life. Nature 580, 39–51 (2020)


“In Okinawa, coastal fishermen have acted upon this existential threat, banding together to become coral farmers. Much like planting trees to restore a damaged forest, coral reefs can be “repaired” by settling captive-reared corals in damaged reefs.” OIST

If you’d like to get your coral planted: Coral Gardeners - Coral Guardian - Reef Restoration Foundation

“However, the capacity to restore coral reefs lags behind that of all other marine habitats, because coral-reef restoration efforts typically have a very small footprint, and are expensive and slow. Our growing knowledge of ecologicalprocesses in coral reefs provides opportunities to catalyse recovery by reducing multiple pressures while repairing key processes. Mitigating the drivers of coral loss, particularly climate change, and developing innovative approaches to restoration within this decade are imperative to revert coral losses at scale. Efforts are underway to find corals that are resistant to the temperatures and acidity levels expected by the end of the twenty-first century, to understand the mechanisms of their resistance and to use ‘assisted evolution’ to engineer these characteristics into other corals. However, these efforts are in their infancy and their benefits currently unproven.” Duarte, C.M., Agusti, S., Barbier, E. et al. Rebuilding marine life. Nature 580, 39–51 (2020).

The need to better protect sensitive habitats has inspired the use of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). In 2000, only 3.2 million km² (0.9%) of the ocean was protected, but MPAs now cover 26.9 million km² (7.4% of ocean area, or 5.3% if only considering fully implemented MPAs(, accessed 6 March 2020). Duarte, C.M., Agusti, S., Barbier, E. et al. Rebuilding marine life. Nature 580, 39–51 (2020).

“To protect these places, Dr. Enric Sala and the National Geographic Society launched the Pristine Seas project in 2008. Over the past 12 years, Pristine Seas has helped create 22 marine reserves. These make up two-thirds of the world’s fully protected marine areas. Now Sala and his team have set an even more ambitious goal: to see more than a third of the world’s ocean conserved for the purpose not just of sustaining biodiversity but also of replenishing fish stocks and storing carbon.”National Geographic. 


“Successful rebuilding of depleted fish populations has been achieved at local and regional scales through well-proven management actions, including catch restrictions, closed areas, regulation of fishing capacity and gear, catch shares and co-management arrangements. These interventions require detailed consideration of socio-economic circumstances, with solutions being tailored to the local context. Persistent challenges include harmful subsidies, poverty and lack of alternative employment, illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, and the disruptive ecological impacts of many fisheries.” Duarte, C.M., Agusti, S., Barbier, E. et al. Rebuilding marine life. Nature 580, 39–51 (2020).

“Ecotourism in protected areas provides 4–12 times greater economic returns than fishing without reserves (for example, AUS$5.5 billion annually and 53,800 full time jobs in the Great
Barrier Reef).” Duarte, C.M., Agusti, S., Barbier, E. et al. Rebuilding marine life. Nature 580, 39–51 (2020).

Example of Bren Smith who gave up commercial fishing and became ocean farmer instead
“Bren Smith pioneered the development of 3D Ocean Farming that uses the entire water column to grow a variety of species—ranging from sugar kelp and oysters to mussels and scallops—and has emerged as a national model for sustainable food production, ocean restoration, and economic development.” Green Wave Future of Fish


“Restoration efforts are most successful when involving stakeholders, such as fishers and local citizens, coordinated by government agencies. Involvement of local communities is essential, because of their economic dependence, commitment to place and ownership.” Duarte, C.M., Agusti, S., Barbier, E. et al. Rebuilding marine life. Nature 580, 39–51 (2020).

Example of a the local project “Mori wa Umi no Koibito” - The Forest is longing for the sea, the sea is longing for the Forest

Shigeatsu Hatakeyama’s oyster farm was completely destroyed by the deadly tsunami that hit north-east Japan in March 2011. “I thought to myself my business was over,” says Hatakeyama, who is known as ‘Grandpa Oyster,’ a nickname given by the schoolchildren in his environmental education programme. To his surprise, however, the conditions conducive to oyster farming in Kesennuma Bay came back quickly. He believes the recovery can be attributed to the tree-planting movement he and his fishing community initiated decades ago in the upstream of Okawa River that flows into the Bay.

Mr. Hatakeyama is the president of the non-profit organization “Mori wa Umi no Koibito”, whose activities focus on reforestation and environmental education. UN Blog. Mori Umi, 
His story is beautifully written in the book ‘La fôret amante de la mer’.  


“Recent attention has focused on reducing and preventing plastic pollution from entering the ocean, which remains a growing problem; inputs of plastic are currently estimated at between 4.8 to 12.7 million metric tons per year.” Duarte, C.M., Agusti, S., Barbier, E. et al. Rebuilding marine life. Nature 580, 39–51 (2020).
A. Avoid single-use plastic: example of eco-tourism on Iriomote-island, Japan

When traveling to Iriomote island in Japan, the guesthouse owner asked me to bring a reusable waterbottle. She is one of the founders of the MMO project that aims to reduce single-use plastic and installs water stations throughout the island where you can refill your reusable bottle for free. MMO Iriomote

Still looking for your own reusable bottle? There are many fun brands out there: Dopper Ocean Bottle Klean Kanteen 
Find refill stations over the world on FindTap 

Other alternatives for single-use: use a tote bag - bamboo ear picks - ...

B. Recycling plastic is fun and trendy

Recycle and make something yourself out of plastic, Precious Plastic teaches you how to recycle, build and work with plastic! They also share workplaces all over the world.

Not too hands-on? Then be aware where you spend your money. Try sunglasses made of plastic waste of Yuma labs for example.

C. Clean the mess we made

The Bubble Barrier

Bubbles bringing waste to the surface of the water. The Bubble Barrier

The Ocean Cleanup

Pick it up yourself

While kayaking for free in Brussels
Join a river cleanup
Pick up 3 things a day and incite others to do the same



This page is still in progress. 
New projects and inspiration will be added.
In the meantime, don’t hesitate to try one of the things listed above :)

If you know an inspiring project I should add, please mail me:

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