Experts say the world’s oceans are facing mass extinction of fish and other marine life on a scale comparable with the disappearance of the dinosaurs.
This catastrophic scenario is the conclusion of a meeting of 27 marine biologists earier this year in Oxford.
Just six months ago over a hundred tons of sardines died mysteriously in Brazil.
Scientists and conservationists are seriously worried about the fate of natural habitats like the mangroves and seagrass meadows, which are dying off at an unprecedented rate.
Whole marine ecosystems like the coral reefs could disappear within a generation.
After reviewing all the latest research, the scientists found that a combination of negative factors are creating conditions associated with every previous mass extinction of species in the Earth’s history.
Time is fast running out they say, and they are proposing urgent action.
Firstly, there has to be an immediate reduction in Carbon Dioxide emissions, the gas mainly responsible for global warming. They increased by 5% between 2008 and 2010.
Fishing must be reduced to a sustainable level, and some fisheries must be closed if they cannot demonstrate sustainable principles. There should be a global system of marine protected areas to maintain biodiversity.
There needs to be rigorous controls and reductions of pollutants harmful to marine environments or toxic to marine organisms.
Nutrient input into the oceans also need to be controlled by such factors as the better management of sewage treatment.
The extraction of minerals from the ocean beds such as oil and gas need to be avoided, reduced, or, as a minimum, universally and stringently regulated.
And there is a need to assess, monitor and control other sub-marine activity such as the laying of cables or pipelines.
The report strongly urges that the responsibility for the control of the oceans should be removed from the hands of individual countries and taken over by the United Nations. This, the scientists argue, should include a global body empowered to ensure compliance with the Law of the Sea.