Marine refugia: Are we overlooking the important role aquaculture farm sites can provide?
Oceans play a vital role in the functioning of the Earth, including the production of oxygen, regulation of temperature and weather, and absorption of heat and carbon dioxide emissions. They also contribute to food security, provide important compounds for medical research and treatments, and support trade and tourism. However, only a small percentage of the ocean is protected from the impact of fishing through Marine Protected Areas, and only a few countries have protected at least 10% of their marine areas. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals include a goal related to the protection of the oceans, but challenges such as overlapping jurisdictions and lack of data have made it difficult to establish and maintain Marine Protected Areas. Aquaculture, particularly deep-water/open ocean aquaculture, has the potential to be a part of the solution to these problems and a way to protect marine environments. Cuna Del Mar and its portfolio companies, Earth Ocean Farms, Blue Ocean Mariculture, Sol Azul, and Open Blue, are pioneers in deep-water open ocean aquaculture and have contributed to local conservation efforts.