Ecosystem Collapse Predicted as Human Activity Lays Waste to Marine Life

Friday, September 18, 2015
Coral reef restoration in Florida Keys (photo: NSU)

The world’s oceans may experience an ecosystem collapse unless mankind takes serious steps to change how it influences and exploits species.


That’s the message from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), an international environmental organization that warned in a new report about the future of the seas and their inhabitants. WWF’s Living Blue Planet Report (pdf) says overfishing, destruction of marine habitats, and climate change have put enormous strains marine mammals, birds, reptiles, and fish, cutting their global populations by 50% on average, reducing some fish species (including mackerels, tunas and bonitos) by nearly 75%, and pushing many species towards extinction. The group claims 25% of sharks, rays, and skates species face dying off completely as a result of overfishing by humans.


Tropical reefs are also under assault, having lost more than half their reef-building coral over the last 30 years—and the possibility of the remaining ones disappearing by 2050 because of ocean warming produced by climate change. WWF further says marine vertebrate populations were cut in half in number from 1970 to 2012.


As if that’s not already enough for a call to action, WWF adds that a collapse of marine ecosystems could cause “an impending social and economic crisis” for the billions of people, primarily from developing countries, who rely on the oceans for food.


“Current international commitments fall far short of the action needed to stop levels of warming and acidification that are proving catastrophic to the ocean systems all people depend on,” wrote the group in its report. “The fortunate news is that solutions do exist and we know what needs to be done. The ocean is a renewable resource that can provide for all future generations if the pressures are dealt with effectively,”


WWF’s findings are derived from the Living Planet Index, a database developed by researchers at the Zoological Society of London.

-Noel Brinkerhoff, Danny Biederman


To Learn More:

Human Activity Pushing Marine Life to the Brink of Collapse (by Lauren McCauley, Common Dreams)

Failing Fisheries and Poor Ocean Health Starving Human Food Supply – Tide Must Turn (WWF)

Living Blue Planet Report (WWF and Zoological Society of London) (pdf)

Wildlife Put at Risk from Dumping of Pharmaceuticals (by Noel Brinkerhoff and Steve Straehley, AllGov)

Navy Gets Final Go for Sonar Training that Kills Marine Mammals (by Ken Broder, AllGov California)

Acidification of Oceans Caused by Climate Change to Last Tens of Thousands of Years (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


Frank Wolf 8 years ago
Billions of ignorant people, coupled with racial, ethnic and religious strife, layered with our uncontrollable desire to have sex has brought mankind to this sordid state of affairs. Hypothetically, if I were president of the world I'd take a hard look at just who is contributing to the social, technological or spiritual improvement of mankind, who is actively and proactively working to save and or repair the environmental damage we have and still are doing to our home planet, then I'd eliminate as swiftly as possible every other man woman and child, all the excess population, period. No mercy. Only then can the planet's biology be saved; only then can all of Earth's other life be protected; only then can Earth's climate restabilize. My species might hate me but what I did would be for the greater good of all life on Earth, and in the end this infamous action would provide a better life for my species as well. But the question is, after doing all this would the survivors have learned anything? How do we get over ourselves? It's not so much the individuals doing all the harm as it is their mind-set. Until and unless as a species, collectively, we can elevate our consciousness, completely revamp how we treat ourselves, each other, all other life on Earth, and indeed the planet, as a whole herself, we would be doomed to continue repeating our over-breeding, continue our over-exploitation of Earth's limited resources, continue finding ways to wage war on each other; in other words continue making a shitty mess of our home. What's to do with us? We have supposedly advanced intelligence over and above all other life on Earth, but what do we do with it in sum total: over consume and over breed....sadly, Earth needs another Chixulub Event I fear. Although I do remain open to other workable suggestions, but time has almost ran-out for saving the Earth our grandparents knew from what their grandchildren now are doing to her. I'm doing what I can, planting hundreds of Sequoia trees. If all you are doing is having babies, pushing wildlife further and further away, cutting down forests to feed yourself, over-fishing, polluting the soil, the water and the air with your waste, etc., you are the enemy of this planet and need to be removed, like yesterday.

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