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Women and the Ocean - that is the fitting focus of World Ocean Day this year. It reminds us that probably 50% of workers along the fish value chain are women - but data are for the most part missing except for some case studies - one of the many things to change for healthy oceans, prosperious and sustainable fisheries and respectful conditions ensured for women, men and ocean life. Brussels kicked off again the series of events by Mundus maris and its partners on three continents to celebrate World Ocean's Day.

Brilliant sunny weather and the usual large crowds flocking to the Brussels Environment Festival (2 June) in the 50aire Park created an excellent scenario for World Ocean Day celebrations at the Mundus maris booth which was "under siege" all day long.

Even before the official opening at 11h until after the closure at 19h visitors joined us at the booth curious to learn more about this year's motto focused on the social role of men and women in relation to the ocean, but in particular what connected women to the ocean.

As in previous years the quizzes were very popular. Testing one's knowledge about such topics as gender or plastic ocean from last year is always fun and often entire families were debating the most appropriate choices before handing in their answers. Winners were offered prizes to be distributed as of 18h during the festival.

If you haven't had a chance to enjoy it at the Mundus maris booth in Brussels, you can try your luck with the quiz about women and ocean here. No cheating! Check the answers here only after you're done!

The quiz about marine plastic was at least equally popular as more and more people become aware of the huge ramifications of our excessive use of different plastic materials and inconsiderate handling. Check it out here - and check against the correct answers.

Indeed there were more completely accurate answer sheets for the plastic quiz than for the gender quiz. Clearly, there is room for improvement in knowledge about gender. So we have a challenge cut out for us to connect increasing ocean literacy more closely with SDG 5 (sustainable development goal) on gender equity and equality.

Other aspects of SDG 14 on ocean protection that played in prominent role in the conversations at the booth were acidification illustrated by two glas jars with mussel shells, one with normal water, the other one with a higher concentration of acid that visibly dissolved the calcareous shell.

Luckily the concentrations in the ocean are still inferior, but experiments in natural environments demonstrate that animals and plants with calcareous skeletons or shells already have to spend more energy to keep their bodies together and become more vulnerable.

With all the serious concerns about ocean health under attack from overfishing, acidification, plastic and climate change, the need to leave baby fish in the water to grow to adult size had it's fun part as well. Sheets with our mascots, baby fish Samba and Cumba, for coloration with water colours at the kids' corner attracted droves of parents and kids so that we have to reprint sheets during the day to meet demand.

What better way to create awareness and resolve from early age and stand up together for a healthy ocean, a healthy planet and decent living conditions for all!

Pictures by CE Nauen.