IPSO State of the Oceans Report: SAAMBR comment

The health of the oceans is deteriorating faster than was previously thought

The recently released State of the Oceans Report makes very sobering reading. Compiled by the world-renowned scientists who make up the International Programme on the State of the Oceans (IPSO), the report explains that the health of the oceans is deteriorating faster than was previously thought.

The oceans are facing a cocktail of threats that, in concert, are impairing the ability of the oceans to support us. The world’s fisheries are in crisis, with 70% overexploited. The oceans are becoming more acidic as they absorb excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Dead zones caused by excessive fertilizer run-off are expanding and coral reefs may be lost within a few decades.

For too long we have thought of the oceans as too big to be influenced by humans, and we have taken them for granted. Unfortunately the report shows that this is not true, and unless we acknowledge the extent of marine degradation now and take active steps to eliminate or reduce the damage, greater, irreversible losses will occur – and these will impact on human survival.

Experts around the world agree that it is not too late to make the changes needed to save our oceans

Despite this depressing picture, there is still hope. Experts around the world agree that it's not too late to make the changes needed to save our oceans. What is needed is a greater awareness of the links between the health of the oceans and human survival, and the fact that the cumulative effect of small local actions can make a difference.

Comments on the report have highlighted the need for ongoing research and education, and improved communication with governments to address issues of legislation. This highlights the critical role that SAAMBR plays in marine conservation in the western Indian Ocean. Our research, education and awareness roles are now more important than ever.

For a copy of the full report, please go to http://www.stateoftheocean.org.

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