Oceans: Threat and Management

Coral biologist and WWF Marine Officer, Phoenix Islands, Kiribati.
Life began in the oceans. The oceans are home to half the world's biodiversity, and new species are being found almost daily. For many living near the seas, the water of the seas is the source of their livelihood- whether it is fishing, whaling, or tourism. And yet with so much attention to the environmental threat to forests and grasslands, sometimes the threat to oceans and marine life is overlooked. In this field trip we will take an overview of oceans and the threat to them.
Why are oceans important?
Ocean water and ice make up almost 98 percent of all the water on Earth. The oceans are home to innumerable species that we are now only beginning to discover.

To know more about their world and to understand why there is such concern about threat to oceans, visit the website. Take a look at the oceans and seas along the meridian, their importance to man, the diversity of wildlife that inhabit these waters, and some important conservation issues.

Overfishing threatens marine biodiversity
According to a Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimate, over 70% of the world's fish species are either fully exploited or depleted. The dramatic increase of destructive fishing techniques worldwide destroys marine mammals and entire ecosystems.

FAO reports that illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing worldwide appears to be increasing as fishermen seek to avoid stricter rules in many places in response to shrinking catches and declining fish stocks. Find out more about this threat here.

Nuclear waste threaten our oceans
When humans step in, the threat to the natural habitat comes not only from their actions but also from the after-effects of it. There is a real threat from nuclear waste leading to radioactivity, and now it has been reported that radioactive lobsters are found in the Irish Sea!

Impact of increased CO₂ in the oceans
According to a UNESCO report, about 20-25 million tons of CO₂ are being added to the oceans each day. This unprecedented amount of CO₂ absorption will lead to increase in acidity of the water and will threaten the survival of many marine species.

This development in turn could disrupt marine food chains and alter ocean biogeochemistry in ways that are not yet understood or predictable. Such dramatic changes have not been observed for more than 20 million years of earth's history. These are some of the startling observations made at a world symposium. For a full report go to this page.

Ocean Rescue: A WWF initiative to save oceans
The WWF initiative to save oceans is called Ocean Rescue. The aim is the creation of stable marine networks that encompass 100 marine protected areas worldwide. For a comprehensive overview of the world's oceans and the threat to them go to this website. The main features and the links are a good starting point to understand the complex issue and see the precious marine life that WWF is working hard to save.

Threatened Oceans mean threatened Corals
Along with the ocean water, a high percentage of the world's coral reefs are at risk of degradation. High acidity in the ocean water caused by pollution, oil spillages, sedimentation and disturbances to habitats are threatening the wonderful world of the coral reefs. However in some cases, due to early warning, concrete steps are being taken to manage such threats.

Measures include planning, management, law enforcement, environmental education, and legal protection to restricting development in sensitive coastal areas Australia's Great Barrier Reef, the largest reef in the world, illustrates the potential of careful reef management. To know more about this visit this website.