The world’s oceans are in “shocking” decline, a panel of scientists at the International Programme on the State of the Ocean has concluded (via the BBC’s Richard Black).
The scientists warn that we are “at high risk of entering a phase of extinction of marine species unprecedented in human history.”
It’s the combination of overfishing, pollution, and climate change.
For example, plastic particles are finding their way into the food chain and promoting algae blooms. The ocean’s oxygen is being depleted. Sea ice is melting. Methane gas is being released from the sea bed. Three-quarters of the world’s coral reefs are threatened. Fisheries are getting hammered.
The IPSO scientists say the rate of decline is far worse than they had realised and is accelerating. They describe the process as the “sixth great extinction event” in the planet’s history. And the rate of extinction in this event, they say, is far faster than in the previous ones.
Can the problem be fixed?
IPSO has three recommendations:
- Stop “exploitative” fishing, especially in mid-ocean, where it’s a complete free-for-all
- Map and control pollution
- Cut greenhouse gas emissions
So, in short, the problem is unlikely to be fixed.
IPSO will be releasing its full report in a week or so. We’ll bring it to you here.
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