According to a study headed by the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO), life in the ocean is at a significant risk of mass extinction. Twenty-seven experts presented their findings to the United Nations, indicating that between climate change, over-fishing, potential coral reef collapse, and low-oxygen dead zones, the ocean doesn’t stand much of a chance and time to counter these and other hazards is quickly running out. The study blames human activities for almost every one of the ocean’s problems, and states that action must be taken now to prevent the “next globally significantly extinction event in the ocean”.
Out of all of the anthropogenic causes for environmental stress, over-fishing is the easiest to affect with policy and public education. Fish are the main source of protein for a fifth of the world’s population, and stocks are being depleted on a daily basis. Just look at the tuna crisis going on in the Atlantic. Global warming and ocean acidification, both tied to increases in CO2 in the atmosphere, will be significantly harder to get control of due to man’s severe need for fossil fuels.
The scientists also point to several mass extinction events from the past to show how significant the extinctions can be. When seen on the geological time scale, these events are like a blink of an eye. However, on a human timescale, we may be right in the middle of such an event and not even realize it.
Story taken from Reuters via Yahoo News.