“When an alarm bell rings over a threat to our ecological security, governments must respond as urgently as they do to national security threats; in the long run, the impacts are just as important.” ~ Trevor Manuel, Co-chair of the Global Ocean Commission and Minister in the South African Presidency
“The world has grown too crowded to sustain the selfish pursuit of narrow national or business interests without regard for the impacts on others.” ~ Professor Callum Roberts, University of York, UK.
“the risks to the ocean and the ecosystems it supports have been significantly underestimated; that the extent of marine degradation as a whole is greater than the sum of its part; and that it is happening at a much faster rate than previously predicted…that the threats to the ocean [are] faster with an accelerated rate of change, bigger in scale, and closer in time in terms of the impacts being felt [than previously estimated] ”
Each of the 5 papers making up the IPSO report focus on different stresses, impacts, and importantly potential solutions. _’Climate change impacts on coral reefs_ : Synergies with local effects, possibilities for acclimation, and management implications’ focuses on the need to keep CO2 levels below 450 ppm, and coordinating local and regional level programs to reduce stresses. ‘Climate change and the oceans — What does the future hold?‘ takes a closer look at the synergistic impact of ocean warming, acidification, and reducing oxygen levels (the ‘deadly trio’) on marine biodiversity. ‘Ocean in peril: Reforming the management of global ocean living resources in areas beyond national jurisdiction’ takes a critical look at management and governance of the high seas. These are waters that lie outside of national jurisdiction – perhaps one of the few last remaining ‘commons’. ‘Evaluating legacy contaminants and emerging chemicals in marine environments using adverse outcome pathways and biological effects-directed analysis‘ takes a look at the impact of regulated, unregulated, and natural contaminants in our marine environment, and the threat to both marine ecosystems and the seafood we love to tucker in to. Finally ‘Fisheries: Hope or despair?’ takes a look at the global trend of stock depletion and its impact on marine ecosystems, and what it means for the future of marine-based nutrition for our ever-growing human population.
IPSO have put together an executive summary of the report including key findings from each of the 5 papers. I highly recommend taking a look at it – it’s very accessible.
If you want to read any of the papers making up this report for yourself, all the papers have been published in the journal ‘Marine Pollution Bulletin’. They have been made open access, and you can find links to them all on the IPSO website.
Following on from this report, the BBC posed 7 experts a short, but complex question: Are humans capable of protecting the oceans?
Image: Jellyfish. Credit Ashley Rose/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)