Truthout

Scientists Warn That Ocean's Marine Life on "Brink of Extinction"

Wednesday, 22 June 2011 08:52 By Anna Tomforde, McClatchy Newspapers | Report
  • font size decrease font size decrease font size increase font size increase font size
  • Print
  • Email

London — The world's oceans are degenerating far faster than predicted and marine life is facing extinction due to a range of human impacts — from over-fishing to climate change — a report compiled by international scientists warned Tuesday.

The cumulative impact of "severe individual stresses," ranging from climate warming and sea-water acidification to widespread chemical pollution and overfishing, would threaten the marine environment with a catastrophe "unprecedented in human history."

The conclusions were published by a panel of international scientists who reviewed recent research at a workshop at Oxford University, in Britain. They will be presented to the United Nations in New York later this week for discussions on reforming governance of the oceans.

The report warned that damage to marine life would harm its ability to support humans, and that entire ecosystems, such as coral reefs, could be lost in a generation.

Truthout is able to confront the forces of greed and regression only because we don’t take corporate funding. Please support us in this fight: make a tax-deductible donation today.

"Unless action is taken now, the consequences of our activities are at a high risk of causing, through the combined effects of climate change, over-exploitation, pollution and habitat loss, the next globally significant extinction event in the ocean," it said.

The marine scientists called for a range of urgent measures to cut carbon emissions, reduce over-fishing, shut unsustainable fisheries, create protected areas in the seas and cut pollution.

"The findings are shocking," said Alex Rogers, the scientific director of the International Programme on the State of the Ocean, which convened the panel with the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

"As we considered the cumulative effect of what humankind does to the ocean the implications became far worse than we had individually realized. This is a very serious situation demanding unequivocal action at every level."

"The world's leading experts on oceans are surprised by the rate and magnitude of changes we are seeing," said Dan Laffoley, the co-author of the report.

© 2011 McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Truthout has licensed this content. It may not be reproduced by any other source and is not covered by our Creative Commons license.


Hide Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus