Roadmap

    An ordered list of key events, conferences, agreements, reports and legal tools in the recent history of our oceans. This roadmap (or timeline) will be extended as more articles are posted on the site.


    Key events & conferencesKey agreements, reports & legal tools
    1604 Mare Liberum (Free Seas, concept of international waters) published by Dutchman Hugo Grotius.
    1866 The word "ecology", describing the study of the relations between living organisms and their environment, was coined by German zoologist Ernst Haeckel.
    1934 The first deep ocean dive to a depth of half a mile. A world of previously unseen luminescent creatures is found.
    1948 International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) is founded in Switzerland.
    1949 UN Scientific Conference on the Conservation and Utilization of Resources, first UN meeting on natural resource problems. The first International Convention for Regulation of Whaling; resulting in the International Whaling Commission (IWC) with 14 members.
    1954 International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution of the Sea by Oil (OILPOL).
    1961 Creation of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to "protect animals and plants threatened with extinction". Antarctic Treaty; "Antarctica shall continue forever to be used exclusively for peaceful purposes and shall not become the scene or object of international discord".
    1966 Spaceship Earth; first photos of Earth from space.
    1969 International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution.
    1971 Group of activists set sail on the Phyllis Cormack from Canada, to stop a US nuclear weapons test in the Aleutian Islands. Panels reading Green and Peace where dangling from the bridge. Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.
    1972 International Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter (London Convention).
     
    The Limits to Growth report presented by the Club of Rome. It predicts that the Earth's limits will be reached in 100 years at current rates of population growth, resource depletion, and pollution generation.
    1973 International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL).
    1974 Oslo Convention for the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping from Ships and Aircraft.
    1977 Court decision on the validity of the US Endangered Species Act, the first powerful environmental protection tool by a major country.
    1978 Paris Convention for the Prevention of Marine Pollution from Land-Bases Sources.
    1982 Paris Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) first eliminates the operation of sub-standard ships through a system of Port State control.
     
    UN Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) open for signature.
    1984 World Commission on Environment and Development was created.
    1985 French security forces sank the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior near NZ. Dutch photographer Fernando Pereira was killed.
    1986 International Whaling Commission (IWC) issues its indefinite moratorium on commercial whaling, various countries do not agree.
    1987 The Our Common Future (The Brundtland Report) report is published by the World Commission on Environment and Development.
    1988 Japan begins its "scientific" whaling programme in the Antarctic.
    1989 The tanker Exxon Valdez runs onto a reef in Alaska's Prince William Sound and dumps 76,000 tons of crude oil. The spill covers more than 5,100 kilometres of pristine coastline with oil and kills more than 250,000 birds. UNEP Basel Convention Outcomes; to prevent toxic traders from shipping hazardous waste from industrial to developing countries.
     
    Bern Convention to designate Areas of Special Conservation Interest (ASCI).
    1990 International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-Operation.
    1991 World's largest oil spill (estimated >1.2 million ton) when retreating Iraq's set fire to oil wells and tankers in Kuwait.
    1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development (Earth Summit), in Rio de Janeiro. Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR), supersedes the 1974 Oslo Convention and the 1978 Paris Convention.
     
    Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), articles 12-13 related to transboundary aquatic ecosystems.
     
    Convention on Climate Change sets non-binding carbon dioxide reduction goals for industrial countries (to 1990 levels by 2000).
     
    Adoption of Agenda 21 during the Earth Summit.
    1994 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) comes into official action
     
    Full collapse of the Newfoundland cod fisheries, 40.000 jobs lost.
    1995 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) statement concluding that "the balance of evidence suggests that there is a discernible human influence on global climate? FAO / UNEP Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries; integration of fisheries into coastal area management, including the fragility of coastal ecosystems.
     
    UN Fish Stocks Agreement.
    1997 Kyoto Protocol; mandates that industrial countries cut their carbon dioxide emissions by 6 to 8 percent from 1990 levels by 2008-2012.
    1998 Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty comes into force (signed 1991)
    1999 ICES Symposium on the Ecosystem Effects of Fishing.
    2001 UN Agreement for the Conservation and Management of Straddling and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks enters into force, ground rules for fisheries in international waters.
    2002 The UN Summit on Sustainable Development (Rio +10) in Johannesburg. Target to establish a global network of comprehensive, effectively managed, and ecologically representative national and regional systems of protected areas by 2012 is doomed to fail.
     
    Tanker Prestige splits apart carrying 77,000 tons of oil, contaminating Spain's Galicia coastline.
    2004 FAO: State of the worlds Fisheries and Aquaculture report 2004
    2005 Kyoto Protocol comes into effect. Almost all countries in the world have now pledged to reduce the emission of gasses that contribute to global warming. Some major countries as the US have not ratified the protocol.
    . : Constructed & regularly updated by Pepijn Koster : .


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