What impacts do humans have on the ocean?
Oceans around the world are becoming degraded. Evidence shows that human activities, including intense fishing around the world, are altering ocean ecosystems beyond their natural state. According to numerous scientific studies, fish, shellfish, and other important species are declining in many places. These changes are impairing the ocean’s capacity to provide food, protect livelihoods, maintain clean water, and recover from environmental stresses like severe storms.
A recent study which has mapped the total human impact on the seas for the first time has revealed that the picture is far worse than the scientists imagined. 40% of the world's oceans have been heavily affected by human activities, including fishing, coastal development and pollution from shipping. The most severely affected areas are the North Sea, South and East China Seas, Carribean, Mediterranean, Red Sea, the Gulf, the Bering Sea, the East Coast of North America and the Western Pacific.
Scientists compiled data on the impact of 17 human activities across 20 ecosystems to compile a map of impacts at a global scale. One of the scientists behind the study commented that; "the message for policy-makers is clear... Conservation action that cuts across the whole set of human impacts is needed right now in many places around the globe".
Go back to learn more!