Major Report suggests Catastrophe looms for Oceans

Sunset over water

Photo / Rob Edwards

The world’s oceans are faced with an unprecedented loss of species comparable to the great mass extinctions of prehistory, a major report suggests.

The seas are degenerating faster because of the cumulative impact of severe individual stresses, ranging from climate warming and sea-water acidification to chemical pollution and gross overfishing.

The coming together of these factors is now threatening the marine environment with a catastrophe “unprecedented in human history”, according to the report by a panel of leading marine scientists brought together in Oxford this year by the International Programme on the State of the Ocean and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

The panel’s stark suggestion is that the potential extinction of species, from large fish at one end of the scale to tiny corals at the other, is directly comparable to the five great mass extinctions in the geological record, during each of which much of the world’s life died out.

The 27 scientists concluded that a “combination of stressors is creating the conditions associated with every previous major extinction of species in earth’s history”.

“The findings are shocking,” said Dr Alex Rogers, professor of conservation biology at Oxford University and IPSO’s scientific director. “This is a very serious situation demanding unequivocal action at every level. We are looking at consequences for humankind that will impact in our lifetime, and worse, in the lifetime of our children and generations beyond that.”

Read the full story on Herald News.

Read the report details at State of the