The world's oceans are under even greater threat than previously thought, according to a new report from the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO). In "The State of the Ocean 2013: Perils, Prognoses and Proposals," researchers write that our oceans face the "deadly trio" of global warming, declining oxygen levels and acidification — and human activity may be to blame.
Hit the gallery to learn more about the three threats identified in the report.
"The scientific evidence that marine ecosystems are being degraded as a direct result of human activities is overwhelming; and the consequences both for the vital and valuable ocean goods and services we rely on, including for the maintenance of a healthy Earth system, are alarming," the report's authors write. They also suggest that ocean degradation "is happening at a much faster rate than previously predicted."
Summaries of all five papers included in the report are available at The State of the Ocean site.
Here are the three recommendations the report makes to improve the situation:
- Reduce global CO2 emissions to limit ocean temperature rise to less than two degrees celsius
- Implement community- and ecosystem-based management of fisheries, with a focus on smaller-scale fishing operations
- Create a global infrastructure for high seas governance
The IPSO study also mentions the recent IPCC report on climate change, which professor Dan Laffoley says "confirmed that the ocean is bearing the brunt of human-induced changes to our planet." Laffoley, who works with the International Union for Nature's World Commission on Protected Areas, also says the findings of the new study "give us more cause for alarm — but also a roadmap for action."
Another organization working on a new approach to ocean governance is the TerraMar Project. In order to raise awareness about threats facing the oceans, TerraMar offers people the opportunity to become "citizens" of the ocean. Supporters of the project can sign the I Love the Ocean Pledge and become a "citizen of TerraMar."
Their mission is to "create a global ocean community to give voice to the least protected, most ignored part of our planet — the high seas."