Tuesday, June 21, 2011

BREAKING NEWS: World's oceans threatened, mass extinction of marine animals likely

An international panel of marine experts in a shocking new report released just yesterday warns that “the world’s ocean is at risk of entering a phase of extinction of marine species unprecedented in human history.” 

Dr. Alex Rogers, Scientific Director of the International Programme on the State of the Ocean described the findings as “shocking” and “demanding unequivocal action at every level.”  He said, if nothing is done about global warming and over fishing, “we are looking at consequences for humankind that will impact in our lifetime, and worse, our children’s and generations beyond that.”

Among other things, the panel concluded that:

  • The combination of stressors on the ocean is creating the conditions associated with every previous major extinction of species in Earth's history.
  • The speed and rate of degeneration in the ocean is far faster than anyone has predicted
  • Many of the negative impacts previously identified are greater than the worst predictions.
  • Although difficult to assess because of the unprecedented speed of change, the first steps to globally significant extinction may have begun with a rise in the extinction threat to marine species such as reef-forming corals.

The panel said, “climate change, coupled with other human-induced impacts such as over-fishing and nutrient run-off from farming, have already caused a dramatic decline in ocean health.   Increasing hypoxia (low oxygen levels) and anoxia (absence of oxygen, known as ocean dead zones) combined with warming of the ocean and acidification are the three factors which have been present in every mass extinction event in Earth's history. There is strong scientific evidence that these three factors are combining in the ocean again, exacerbated by multiple severe stressors. The scientific panel concluded that a new extinction event was inevitable if the current trajectory of damage continues.”

Among other things, the panel found that:

  • The rate at which carbon is being absorbed by the ocean is already far greater now than at the time of the last globally significant extinction of marine species, some 55 million years ago, when up to 5O% of some groups of deep-sea animals were wiped out.
  • A single mass coral bleaching event in 1998 killed 16% of all the world's tropical coral reefs.
  • Overfishing has reduced some commercial fish stocks and populations of by-catch species by more than 90%.
  • New science also suggests that pollutants including flame retardant chemicals and synthetic musks found in detergents are being traced in the Polar Seas, and that these chemicals can be absorbed by tiny plastic particles in the ocean which are in turn ingested by marine creatures.

Bottom line:  If things continue as they are, human beings may soon destroy the oceans of the world. The oceans will go silent.

To read more about this very disturbing report on the condition of the world’s oceans, click on the following links:


No comments: