Oceans in Crisis

October 2007 • Volume 1, Issue 10
Can the loss of ocean biodiversity be halted?
By Colin Woodard

Introduction

Discarded fishing line entangles a sea turtle — one of an estimated 1 million turtles, seabirds and marine mammals that die each year after ingesting or becoming entangled in ocean debris.  (Ocean Conservancy)
Discarded fishing line entangles a sea turtle — one of an estimated 1 million turtles, seabirds and marine mammals that die each year after ingesting or becoming entangled in ocean debris. (Ocean Conservancy)

The world's oceans are in a dire state. Large predatory species are being decimated — including sharks, whales, tuna, grouper, cod, halibut, swordfish and marlin — and replaced by species with less commercial and nutritive value. In fact, a growing body of evidence suggests that the world's marine ecosystems have been altered so dramatically they are undergoing evolution in reverse, returning to a time when algae and jellyfish dominated the seas. The crisis is having an increasingly profound effect on humans. Fishing cultures from Newfoundland to West Africa are vanishing, and toxic algal blooms have closed beaches and recreational areas from Florida to the Black Sea. The damage is being caused by overfishing, climate change and destruction of habitat due to coastal development and pollution. Scientists and policy makers widely agree that a broad-based approach known as ecosystem-based management would help restore the oceans' productivity, but significant research and strong international cooperation are needed to bring about such a shift.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Aquaculture and Maritime Policy
Oct. 2007  Oceans in Crisis
Jul. 27, 2007  Fish Farming
Nov. 04, 2005  Saving the Oceans
Aug. 02, 2002  Threatened Fisheries
Sep. 27, 1985  Whaling: End of an Era
Jul. 16, 1982  Troubled Maritime Industry
Jun. 07, 1974  Oceanic Law
Sep. 29, 1965  National Maritime Policy
Sep. 04, 1963  Fishing Rights and Territorial Waters
Oct. 05, 1955  Territorial Waters and the High Seas
Jul. 21, 1954  Plight of the Maritime Industry
Jul. 10, 1935  Merchant Marine Policy of the United States
Jan. 15, 1929  Sea Power and Sea Law
Jul. 24, 1928  Government Aid to the Merchant Marine
Oct. 17, 1925  The Merchant Marine Problem
Apr. 26, 1924  The New Merchant Marine Situation
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Water Pollution
Water Resources