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World Ocean Day in Kiel Germany with focus on ocean protection

Kiel is setting its ambitions high. The capital of Schleswig Holstein, the most northerly state of Germany, seat of GEOMAR, internationally renowned for its marine research programmes, has declared its objective three years ago to become a city for ocean protection. That's a big leap for a city with a marine military history and now an increasingly busy hub for large cruise liners.

Mundus maris together with Ocean Philosophers had a tent in the Ocean Summit village and offered the Ocean Game, which was played with gusto by the young visitors of the event along Kiellinie, right on the pier.

The questions and multiple answers to chose from were naturally attuned to the venue on the Baltic. So the players learned, if they did not know as yet, that the species of marine mammals in the Western Baltic - harbour porpoises, grey seals, seals - were mostly not in a good state. Ringed seal in the Gulf of Finland is even considered in critical state by HELCOM. There is work to be done on other fronts as well, starting with finding socially acceptable solutions to expanding no-take zones, reducing run-off from industrial agriculture and retrieving hundreds of thousands of tonnes of ammunition dumped at the end of WWII.

The large coalition of civil society organisations active in different aspects of marine recovery and protection, artists, scientists, divers, sailors and more were populating the village with a great diversity of creative offers to engage and entertain visitors.

After the invasion of school classes trooping about in the morning, mostly to a tight programme starting with a film introduction, the remainder of the day saw locals and their visitors of all ages strolling up and down, stopping for a conversation, hand painting cotton bags with ocean motives 'next door', or just taking a flyer.

Many reached for a promotional card for the FishBase Guide app as demand for knowing the minimum reproductive size of fish species to make e.g. a sustainable purchase was high. Here in this urban environment even relatively young kids seemed to have mobile devices and were keen to try the app out.

The app was also popular with quite a few teachers interested to use it during lessons. Click on the QR code for direct download:


The crowds were such that bykers needed to walk to avoid collisions.

Both organisers and visitors enjoyed the sunshine, light breeze and relaxed atmosphere inviting a good mix of chatting, learning, fun, food and drink and meandering between the different boothes, stage performances, music and film. No way to stop after the official end at 18h, especially when the film on the Vendée Globe featuring Boris Herrmann was still being screened.

Congrats to the entire Ocean Summit team around the Boell-Stiftung Schleswig Holstein and BUND at its core. And happy to meet Lisa Hentschel and other Ocean Philosophers again with whom we collaborated earlier a couple of times, and, of course, the friends of the Baltic Sea Heritage Rescue Project, our neighbours on the Love Your Ocean Platform at the Boot Fair in January, who fittingly demonstrated live how to lift a lost fishing net from the seabed.

More information about the rich programme of World Ocean Day 2023 in conjunction with promoting Kiel as a city of marine protection is available here.