More than £5.3bn raised at EU-led Our Ocean conference to protect marine life

6 October 2017, 19:17

More than £5.3bn has been raised to protect marine life at a global conservation conference in Malta.

Commitments to protect huge areas of the Earth's seas were also made at the Our Ocean event.

About half the money was pledged by the European Union, its 28 member states and the European Investment Bank, with the rest offered by almost 100 other countries, businesses and other organisations.

The conference, which was organised by the EU, focused on subjects including plastic pollution and illegal fishing.

:: EU's 'ambitious' plan to improve health of oceans

In addition to the financial commitments some nations said they would add new marine protected areas, with the EU saying those areas would cover more than half its territory.

Five global insurance companies said they would refuse cover to vessels blacklisted over illegal or unregulated fishing.

It comes following a Sky pledge to remove all single-use plastics by 2020 and after a speech by Prince Charles at the conference.

Conservationists have welcomed the developments.

Demetres Karavellas, from the WWF wildlife group, said: "We are beginning to see leaders in government, civil society and the private sector standing up to be counted to make tangible commitments to conservation, which is most encouraging."

Oceana Europe executive director Lasse Gustavsson echoed those sentiments, saying: "Today is a major breakthrough, with leading insurers committing to deny a financial lifeline to pirate-fishing vessels."

The Vatican has described the need to protect marine life as urgent.

Vatican secretary of state Piero Cardinal Parolin said: "We witness a marvellous marine world being transformed into an underwater cemetery, bereft of colour and life."

:: To get involved in Sky Ocean Rescue, visit the campaign website here.

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