Article Index

The activities of Mundus maris asbl and its partners to celebrate World Environment Day (5 June) and World Ocean Day 2022 (8 June) started already in May with raising awareness in two classes at the Colegio Bilingüe Báltico in the Veracruz Province, Mexico. The UN motto for this year 'Revitalization: Collective Action for the Ocean' is particularly stimulating and timely in the light of several major reports published in the last few months and painting a gloomy picture of greater negative impact of human action on the ocean than expected. Having said this, the research also shows that much worse can be prevented by determined collective action, e.g. weaning us faster from fossil fuels and delivering the deal in the World Trade Organization (WTO) to finally phase out harmful fisheries subsidies.

In Mexico, we supported a broad alliance composed of Limpiemos Veracruz, Kayam, Decididos, Ecosendero, OPEVER and Colegio Bilingue Báltico in the municipality of Alvarado in Veracruz Province. Maria Soledad Logozzo coordinated the different contributions on site by the partners to this initiative. They started out with producing an attractive series of informative slides to illustrate to two classes of secondary school students why it is so important to care for the ocean. The students were all eyes and ears and followed the presentations attentively. 


The students were then invited to test their newly acquired knowledge with a quiz provided by Mundus maris in collaboration with students at the Belgrano University in Buenos Aires (Spanish version here).

This was part of a wider initiative to draw the attention of citizens across all generations about the threats widespread plastic pollution, particularly micro-plastic was posing to marine life in the ocean and the lagoon bordering town. The campaigners also explained that such environmental pollution was negatively impacting public health. That was a good preparation to pass to action on the ground for a beach cleaning drive announced widely through the poster below for 28 May 2022.

And come they did from the youngest to the grandfather generation. And unfortunately, in a short time in the tropical sweaty climate, they collected really substantial amounts of garbage from the beach.


Special arrangements had been made to ensure that the garbage was properly picked up and disposed off to honour the clean-up effort. The hope is that more people realise that preventing the pollution is the way to go. A big thanks to the volunteers of the awareness campaign and particularly those facing down the garbage on the beach.

All eyes on WTO in Hilden, Germany

With World Ocean Day, 8 June, and the beginning of the 12th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva around the corner, it was an opportunity not to be missed to inform more broadly about the importance of phasing out harmful fisheries subsidies and thus stop spending tax payers' money on funding industrial overfishing of the ocean. Having missed the deadline of 2020 to deliver on their mandate, target 14.6 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), expectations are that WTO finally cuts the overdue deal and reports progress to the UN Ocean Conference, taken place shortly afterwards in Lisbon, Portugal, from 27 June to 1 July.

Mundus maris is part of a very large alliance of civil society organisations following the negotiations in the WTO since several years and mobilising public pressure to achieve a substantive deal. We reported repeatedly in our monthly newsletter. The alliance supported the Chair, Ambassador Wills of Colombia, and the new Director General of WTO, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former minister and environmental sustainability advocate born in Nigeria, through countless public actions, media campaigns and comments on draft treaty texts. Why is a WTO deal so crucial?

Because few governments with substantial long distance fleets spend about 22 billion USD per year of tax money to prop up oversized fleets stealing dwindling resources particularly from developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Only a small percentage of subsidies goes to coastal small-scale fisheries in such countries, which provide for about 25% of the fish food from the ocean. It is clear that despite their important role in local food security these small-scale fishers are no match for industrial fleets fishing for subsidies. These subsidies finance infact overfishing operations, which have already much reduced global catches since the mid-1990s. Without the subsidies, probably half the industrial fleet would not be economically viable and stop, thus giving resources a respite to recover and even saving the future of small-scale fishers and their catches. How important subsidies are can be seen e.g. in Europe, where a large chunk of the fleet remains tied up because of the steep rise in fuel costs. These tend to account for more than 60% of the overall operating costs, especially for distant water industrial vessels. Moreover, recent research into the particularly harmful industrial bottom trawling industry has shown that not only does it destroy essential habitat on the sea bottom, but also produces CO2 emissions likely higher than the aeronautics industry! At a time, when giving up our addiction to fossil fuels is entering the center stage of public conscience and societal debates, maintaining fuel subsidies for such industries feels completely fallen out of time, while artisanal fishers many well need public support to tie them over the current crisis.


On Saturday, 4 June, Mundus maris organised an information action at the town centre in Hilden, Germany, drawing attention to World Ocean Day and the urgency of WTO to deliver on its mandate to releave public finances of these harmful subsidies. While not a major fishing nation and rather a huge net fish importer, Germany provides more subsidies to its industry than the catch is worth. It is thus aggravating the poor state of resources and drawing on the public purse already strained through multiple crises and at risk of making cuts to budgets to the socially and economically vulnerable. The European Parliament has recently supported a motion against bottom trawling. Supporting a deal in the WTO would be a logical next step, especially as the reformed EU Common Fisheries Policy prohibits overfishing.

Many people took advantage of the good weather and the relaxed mood before the long weekend of Pentecost enjoying outdoor cafés or just strolling in the pedestrian zone, where we had set up Finlay, the WTO campaign mascot, next to a fish restaurant. Especially the younger ones were quite open to a discussion taking the event flyer and asking for more information.

The regional newspaper Rheinische Post reported on June 7 about World Ocean Day challenges and how Mundus maris responds to them with an article in the local section and a teaser on the front page.


Clean-up along creek in Hilden, Germany

Awareness creation is essential, but it's even better in combination with some practical action.

We had done some prospection to see where best to plan our clean-up effort in and in the vicinity of a local creek connected to the river Rhine. From the bike the paths for pedestrians and bicycles looked quite reasonable. So we planned for a long walk along the Hoxbach creek for Saturday afternoon, 4 June, in support of World Ocean Day.

The municipality provided us with some materials, like special collection bags and grippers. We added face masks, protective gloves and a couple of longer grippers not to bend down so much and off we went in the early afternoon.

Once at it, we discovered at a closer look that there was a lot more garbage around than anticipated. Cigarette butts need to be picked up one by one. That takes time. And there were lots of them from the major brands, particularly on a large parking lot next to blocks of housing and a former school.

Even from the creek itself we extracted some garbage like nappies and plastic bags (very few though).

In the end, in about two and a half hours we collected six (6) kg of garbage. The vast majority of objects thrown carelessly away were indeed cigarette butts, face masks and all kinds of wrappings for sweets.

The numbers of butts thrown away suggests the smokers are unaware of the fact that cigarette filters contain more than 100 toxic substances after use and can kill fish, especially in smaller volumes of water. One of our group was a smoker herself, but she always carries a portable ashtray along if she wants to smoke. That should perhaps be promoted more insistently to prevent the poisons spreading in the environment.

Some people we met on the tour stopped to encourage us. One grandpa praised us in front of his grandson asking what he had learnt in school about the issue. The boy said, 'oh we learn how to separate garbage by category and dispose of it in different containers'. Grandpa: 'ok, that's a good beginning. You should also ask the teacher to explain why the ocean is so important for our health and wellbeing, how things are interconnected and we need to be more protective to water and nature in general.'

A second clean-up action was conducted on Saturday, 11 June. It shall focus on another section of the local creek. Meeting point was opposite the Naturhof, corner Marienweg/Gerresheimer Straße at 14h30. Registration welcome at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

A small group of neighbours responded and carried out a clean-up along the next stretch downstream collecting 12 kg primarily of plastic garbage, again an even greater number of toxic cigarette butts, but this time also shoes, a broken plastic helmet for bikes, cans, face masks and lots of plastic wrappings. In the creek itself we collected plastic bags, a jacket and some bottles. We were happy to make our contribution to prevent particularly the plastic from draining into the river Rhine and from there into the ocean. The visual pollution in the lush vegetation along the river banks and paths was low compared to the garbage sometimes found around glass or paper containers in bigger cities or central collection spots. Nevertheless a closer look still generated several kilos - a considerable quantity when thinking of the low individual weight of cigarette butts which made up the overwhelming majority of items. We agreed that there is room for improvement.

So, in the end, we were quite happy for our contribution to the prevention of at least some of the plastic and chemical contamination.

The regional newspaper Rheinische Post reported on June 16/17 about the clean-up activities for World Ocean Day.

World Ocean Week in Akure, Ondo State, Nigeria

Dr. Lydia Adeleke pulled again all straps to organise an engaging programme to celebrate the ocean and honour the UN motto for World Ocean Day 2022 "Revitalization: Collective Action for the Ocean".

Together with Prof. Fagbenro of the Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA) she enrolled the collaboration of Mundus maris, interested FUTA staff and Aquaworld, reviving a successful alliance from last year.

It started out with a plastic creativity challenge for high school students to turn plastic garbage into a creative object. All entries were to be auditioned on June 6, at the Staff Seconday School.

The response to the announcement was quite good. Lots of students participated in the event that celebrated the winners. See pictures below.

The student challenge was followed by a webinar on 7 June centered around the UN motto. Speakers were Prof. O.A. Fagbenro, Dr. M. Lydia Adeleke, and Paul Ayomide Eweola as youth adviser for World Ocean Day.

More action was on the menu for World Ocean Day, 8 June, itself with an early morning Clean-Up Fiesta starting at the FUTA car park.

Combining education, learning, creativity, incentives, practical action and fun is the winning formula or World Ocean Week celebrations in and around the Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA), powered by Mundus maris and Aquaworld.


Click here for the extensive media coverage.

Webinar in Lagos for World Ocean Day 2022

The event on 8 June was organised principally by Fish Party and ably moderated by Prof. Stella Williams, Vice-President of Mundus maris. Students from the Lagos State University (LASU) had been explicitly invited as main speakers to underscore the importance of engaging young people under this year's UN motto 'Revitalization. Collective Action for the Ocean.'

The extensive introduction was delivered by Hunyin Boldowu of Fish Party. He reminded the participants of the immense importance of the ocean for the living conditions on our planet, including the economic benefits millions of people in Nigeria and the world draw from it.

He said: "This year, I will briefly discuss the revitalization of the collective actions of Fisheries and Aquaculture
students as it is the bonding point between us all."

He insisted that the urgency at hand was the reason why youths in Nigeria in this conference must act now to ensure that together we save this suffering ocean that has helped us so much up to now. We can do this in several ways.

Firstly, join actively Fish Party's innovation to see a changed and ocean-oriented world. This is very important because that helps to change status quo and ensure safety.

Secondly, and most importantly be a dogged advocate for the ocean. This advocacy may be go in various forms of actions, WhatsApp talk, door-to-door, ocean/beach clean-up and other engaging method to cause change. The emphasis is always on seeking the highest public impact so that increasingly effective collective action is taken for the ocean.

Let's pay back to the ocean!

Among the youthful speakers addressing the audience was Ololade Akingbola a student of fisheries at the Lagos State University (LASU) and Vice-President of the National Association of Fisheries Students, who has been active for many years in various initiatives on environmental issues and has a track record as a promoter of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of Agenda 2030.

Ogundare Taye Tobi has made a name for himself has a great participant in debates about the big issues of the day and also serve as a judge of quality debates so as to promote a culture of respectful debate supporting change for the better.

Akanbi Adeyembi Micheal is an undergraduate student of fisheries at LASU with an already remarkable record of academic and social engagements, who has already won recognition for his work inside and outside the university, always focused on achieving impact. He underlined the importance of involving young people and also gave some advice on how to overcome obstacles for the participation in collective action for the ocean, including bridging the digital divide and striving for good education.

Adeshola Kukoyi of the IGLE Training Network also contributed to the panel presentations.

Stella Williams then moderated the lively Question and Answer Session after the presentations which was indicative of the interest kindled by the speakers. The technical conditions were at times challenging when not all participants had stable network connections, but that did not dampen the enthusiasm.

The attractive invitation poster is below.

World Ocean Day in Kribi, Cameroon

World Oceans Day the 2022 edition was held in a boukaro made of plastic bottle waste at Ngoye beach in Kribi, a seaside town in Cameroon.
This ceremony saw the mobilisation of 200 children from 10 schools who accompanied their supervisors and a strong mobilisation of volunteers from France, Douala and Yaoundé. This year's theme was: “Revitalization: Collective Action for the Ocean”. Many exchanges were part of the rich programme of the day.
The presence of the Mayor of Kribi 1er, the Basic Education Inspector and her staff enhanced the event.
The ceremony was marked by the speech of the Mayor and the Inspector. During her speech, the Mayor showed her satisfaction and joy to the President of the Volunteers, who each year continue to show special consideration for the pupils of Kribi. As a result, she wanted to establish a partnership between the association Les Bénévoles des Océans and the town hall of Kribi I. This partnership will consist of the Volunteers training the pupils of the borough on good practices and gestures that can help protect the ocean. The Ocean being life for us and our future generations; these best practices are:
  • The fight against ocean pollution;
  • The establishment of a policy for the collection and sorting of household waste;
  • Recycling its household waste into useful objects for children and their environment;
  • The establishment of an environmental education system from primary school onwards with the aim of inculcating the basic notions of environmental protection.
After their various speeches, the President of Bénévoles des Océans thanked and welcomed the various guests. Subsequently, the children participated with enthusiasm and fervor in the contests, relating to knowledge tests. These covered a number of topics, namely:
  • The coronavirus and the ocean,
  • The Ocean: Lives and Livelihoods,
  • The problem of plastic waste,
  • Protecting the ocean.
Finally, the prizes were awarded to the winners by the president of Bénévoles des Océans; bags and cups donated by Mundus maris in Belgium and the prestigious company Milo. These organisations that we would never stop thanking. Before the end of the event Mrs. Jeauberte DJAMOU wanted to show the children how with their own hands they can start from nothing to get something. She showed the children how she makes plastic furniture, explaining it with a prefabricated sample.
Thank you for the strong mobilisation of volunteers from Cameroon and abroad. Thanks to the SCTIM company for the yogurts. Thanks to the TRANSCAM travel agency for picking up the children.

From Puerto Piramides, Argentina, to the World

The rural school of Península Valdés will make its own book on animals and plants of the marine ecosystem of this place declared by UNESCO as world heritage.

The objective is the elaboration of a book (on paper and in pdf) on MARINE AND TERRESTRIAL fauna and flora of the Valdés Peninsula, written and illustrated by the children of the only school in the place coordinated by their teacher Rita Carrizo. The purpose is to spread awareness about the protection of the ecosystem of the peninsula and its rugged coastlines.

This book will record not only the plants and animals with which the boys and girls have almost daily contact, but it will also reflect the life and values of these boys and girls, who in many cases are the sons and daughters of artisanal fishermen, tourist guides, divers and sailors who make them aware of the need to protect species. It is one of the most wonderful places by the sea in the world. The apprentices will have a great intellectual task of observation, recording and transmission of what they observed in writing, and they will also produce unique material for the region with a childlike freshness and awareness of caring for nature on these coasts as an attitude towards life.

March-May: field trips, observations, recording of information, assembly of texts, illustrations.

June 8, World Ocean Day: School day dedicated to the marine flora and fauna, and how to take care of the sea. Sending photos to publish in Mundus maris.

July-August: layout and final design of the book. Sent to printer for publication.

September: final delivery of the book in pdf and on paper through a face-to-face event at the school with the active participation of the young authors in the preparation of poster announcements.

Mundus maris is happy to support this lovely project financially and thus continues to cooperation with Coincidir, the non-profit in Argentina, working on nature and culture protection and development. Can't wait to see the book!


Beach clean-up by the soccer schools in Hann, Senegal

Our long-standing collaboration with the soccer schools in Hann, Senegal, allied in the 'Amicale Foot', translated again into a big beach cleaning drive on 8 June.

Not far from the fish landing area and next to one of the town districts very close to the sea the young ambitious soccer players responded to the call of their trainers including the indefatigable Babacar Ciss, better known as Gabou of Maison Foot.

They gathered in the morning, rakes, shovels and other implements provided by the 'Amicale Foot', to clean the beach thoroughly. That investment of time and muscle power was to inculcate the understanding how important it is to keep the beach and the ocean clean. It also went hand in hand with the expectation to create the conditions for a soccer tournament a few days later that promised interesting opportunities to play and train, all hoping for one of the attractive prizes announced by Mundus maris in Senegal.

Collecting the garbage for proper disposal Happy after accomplishing the clean-up

VI Webinar World Ocean Day - Mundus maris/University of Belgrano - 2022

Every year we organise in Argentina, together with the University of Belgrano, an event to celebrate World Ocean Day. It always represents a new challenge, for various reasons. The first of these reasons is the topic itself: our Big Ocean and its much-needed care. And with this in mind, we invite the panelists, while motivating an audience increasingly afflicted by the misfortunes that our planet is going through, mainly the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, but also by other challenges of a more local nature. We must add that for the first time this event was developed in a hybrid way, that is, both in person (Buenos Aires) and remotely, with the public and panelists meeting on 10 June in both modalities, from Africa, Europe and America.

This represented, at the same time, the challenge of coordinating the use of new communication technologies (ITCs) with the classic face-to-face activity. But the effort was worth it, since the enthusiastic panelists were able to share their recent discoveries, as well as their reflections, in front of a young audience eager for answers to the growing problems of pollution, climate change and overexploitation in our ocean.

In this way, in a framework of north-south and south-south collaboration, with the emphasis placed on the sustainable development goals of the 2030 Agenda, mainly the one referring to the seas, panelists and audience from three continents were able to exchange questions and answers, as well as reflections that will contribute to a better understanding of the challenges to be faced in a complex and rapidly changing world.

Prior to the development of the event, more than 260 registered people, mainly from Latin America, completed the quiz developed by students from the University of Belgrano. These answers will allow us to better understand, backed by analysing the statistics of the answers, the current vision that is perceived in this region of the planet about the situation of the seas and their state of health.

The topics discussed during the webinar were quite diverse, from small-scale fisheries in West Africa to the principal routes of species introductions and their often invasive character, when they manage to establish themselves in the new environment without their natural predators.

Marcelo Morales Yokobori, Mundus maris Vice President and full professor at the University of Belgrano as key organiser of the event with his team of young collaborators thanks all participants and already looks forward to the next.



World Ocean Day at the Kawabata Yasunari Primary School in Hann, Senegal

The Kawabata Yasunari Primary School in Hann has been collaborating for several years with Mundus maris on the occasion of World Ocean Day (WOD). The 2022 edition was celebrated on 11 June with a clean-up of the school yard, tending the plants in the court yard and by a sketch under the artistic direction of Bina Diop, artist actor and key resource person of the Mundus maris team from Senegal. 

Last instructions by Bina Diop during the rehearsal for the sketch in class (short video). The theatre piece centers on the protection of marine species and of the ocean as a whole, it addresses pollution and more in general the critical water consumption. Says Bina Diop: "In Senegal, water is a particularly scarce and precious resource. Most is needed for producing food and nurturing plants around us. So we want to raise awareness about practical ways to care for water and be conscious about using it prudently. In the sketch, we have inserted a sequence on the environment and the scourge of deforestation, climate change, coastal erosion and difficult living conditions. But we don't stop there, the high note of the theatre piece are proposals for alternatives and possible solutions." With a proud smile he adds: "Our performance was not only appreciated by the higher ups at school, but also in the village, when we performed elsewhere." Congratulations, well done!

Soccer tournament in Hann for World Ocean Day 2022

After the beach clean-up on 8 June, the reward came in the form of a tournament among the teams of the different soccer schools in Hann on 12 June, organised as in previous years by the 'Amicale Foot', the alliance of 12 soccer schools: Maison Foot, Challenge Foot, Sélection de Hann Centre, Centre de Perfectionnement de Hann (CPH), Club de l’Amitié, Top11, Gouney Fary, Gouney Bira, Gouney Montagne, Vision Foot, Ecole Mamadou Teuw, Mame Rokhaya.

Because of the large number of teams and the strong interest of the public, the partially eroded beach did not offer enough space to accommodate all. The venue of the tournament was therefore moved to Tableau Ferraille, the soccer ground about 300 m inland from Hann Bay. To the right you see 'La tribune' - the display of prizes and seated sponsors and key organisers.

The president of the 'Amicale Foot', Maguette Diop, headed the team of trainers and club leaders who had joined forces upon the invitation of Mundus maris Senegal represented by Aliou Sall.

All teams were highly motivated and the mostly young spectators were equally keen to know, who would be winning the three trophy cups, 12 much coveted leather balls and other prizes provided by Mundus maris Senegal for successful teams in three different age groups.

Because of the large number of teams, the tournament started with several knock-out rounds. The first ones started end May, the last one on 11 June.

The finals took place Sunday, 12 June, between the following six teams:

a) Maison Foot versus Centre de Perfectionnement de Hann in the age group of 17 years, called 'cadets',

b) Sélection de Hann Centre versus Challenge Foot in the age group of 15 years, called 'minimes',

c) Gouney Bira versus Club de l’Amitié in the age group of 13 years, called 'benjamins'.

The arbiters made sure the rules were respected and all trainers were at the side of their teams to make them give their best for the ocean and the recognition by the public.

After the presentation of the trophies, the floor was given to Babacar Ciss who, on behalf of the Amicale, thanked Mundus maris for the sustained effort without which this celebration could not have taken place.

On this occasion, he wished that the next editions be extended to soccer schools from fishing communities such as Thiaroye, Mbao and Yoff as guests.

Mr Ciss made a retrospective of the various past initiatives with Mundus maris, emphasizing that after so many editions have taken place, this activity is now included in the agenda of the community and thus has become like a ritual which the sportsmen and the inhabitants of the communities expect to happen every June.


In closing, the vice-president of Mundus maris congratulated Mr Ciss for his sustained commitment to this innovative collaboration between Mundus maris and the sports community with the specific objective to use a mass sport like soccer for environmental awareness. He then reiterated the commitment of Mundus maris to continue to give support in this direction so that we can together with the community of Hann play our part to protect the ocean in the face of the various risks to which it is exposed. For this, he insisted on the need to carry out large-scale awareness actions at the community level to fight against pollution in Hann Bay.

A concert for peace and the ocean, Louvain, Belgium

 Click here to listen to the music.