World’s oceans in ‘shocking’ decline

The oceans are in a worse state than previously suspected, according to an expert panel of scientists.

In a new report, they warn that ocean life is “at high risk of entering a phase of extinction of marine species unprecedented in human history”.

They conclude that issues such as over-fishing, pollution and climate change are acting together in ways that have not previously been recognised.

The impacts, they say, are already affecting humanity.

The panel was convened by the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO), and brought together experts from different disciplines, including coral reef ecologists, toxicologists, and fisheries scientists.

Its report will be formally released later this week.

“The findings are shocking,” said Alex Rogers, IPSO’s scientific director and professor of conservation biology at Oxford University.

Richard Black, BBC News, 20 June 2011. Full article.

1 Response to “World’s oceans in ‘shocking’ decline”

  1. 1 Trevor Branch 22 June 2011 at 08:30

    Seems like a very one-sided summary of the recent literature, including only papers supporting their view and excluding all papers showing evidence of stability or rebuilding in global fisheries:

    Branch, T.A. et al. 2010. The trophic fingerprint of marine fisheries. Nature 468: 431-435.
    Branch, T.A. et al. 2011. Contrasting global trends in marine fishery status obtained from catches and from stock assessments. Cons Biol doi: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2011.01687.x.
    Hutchings, J.A. et al. 2010. Trends in the abundance of marine fishes. Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 67: 1205-1210.
    Worm, B. et al. 2009. Rebuilding global fisheries. Science 325: 578-585.

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