In an alarming new report, the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO) warns against a looming mass extinction of marine life unlike anything experienced thus far in human history.
According to Huffington Post, the report is the first-ever interdisciplinary international workshop examining the combined impact of all the stressors currently affecting the oceans including pollution, warning, acidification, overfishing and hypoxia.
“The findings are shockin,” said Dr. Alex Rogers, Scientific Director of IPSO in a statement released by the group. He continued, “This is a very serious situation demanding unequivocal action at every level. We are looking at consequences for humankind that will impact in our lifetime, and worse, our children’s and generations beyond that.”
IPSO concluded in the report that the degeneration in the oceans is happening much faster than predicted. According to the report, three major factors that have been present in past extinctions are present today including: an increase of both hypoxia (low oxygen) and anoxia (lack of oxygen that creates “dead zones”) in the oceans, as well as warming and acidification. The panel warns that the combination of these factors will eventually cause a mass marine extinction unless swift action is taken.
A report conducted by the World Resources Institute suggests that all coral reefs could be gone by 2050 unless someone makes serious changes. Another recent study published in the journal Nature, suggests that not only will next mass extinction be man-made but that is also most likely already underway.
The IPSO report recommends immediate action be taken in several areas: the reduction of CO2 emissions, coordinated efforts to restore marine ecosystems, and universal implementation of the precautionary principle so “activities proceed only if they are shown not harm the ocean singly or in combination with other activities.” IPSO also is calling on the UN to swiftly introduce an “effective governance of the High Seas.”
IPSO also noted that overfishing alone has reduced some commercial fish stocks and populations of by-catch species by more than 90%. It is apparent immediate action and attention needs to be given to this topic or else the future of the ocean is in serious jeopardy.