June 8th – World Oceans Day

In 2008 the United Nations designated June 8th as the “World Oceans Day”. This official designation is a great opportunity to raise global awareness of the current challenges faced by the international community regarding our oceans. The mega-driver of our climate plays a critical role in the Earth’s biosphere. Oceans are essential to food security as well as to health and survival of all life.

On June 27th 2011 researchers from six different countries published a new report on the man-made problems that threaten the life of our oceans. They warn about the shocking results and remind us of the serious situation the entire human race is facing, not only regions that depend on fish and marine culture. The following chart on the reality of our oceans requires clear policies on every level.

Just because you can't see it, doesn't mean it isn´t there

Among others, researchers list the following problems:

  • Due to human influence oceans heat up – they stagnate and acidify faster because they absorb carbon dioxide; the buffer capacity of the ocean decreases and the climate change accelerates.
    Warming, acidification, lack of oxygen – three symptoms of disturbances in the carbon cycle.
  • The change is occurring very fast! This especially applies to the sea level rise caused by the melting of ice in the Arctic, in Greenland and Antarctica as well as to the release of methane on the seabed.
  • Disappearance of fish species and the occurrence of dangerous algae bloom. Stocks of some commercially important fish species are actually reduced by more than 90 percent.
  • The tropical coral reefs are likely to disappear within 30 years if more Carbon dioxide is being released.
  • Pollutants can attach themselves to very small plastics which spread and are absorbed by living organisms.
  • Overfishing and pollution have damaged the sea over the past centuries, making it hard for weak species to survive and adapt to the accelerating climate change nowadays.

The researchers also pointed out measures for improvement, the most important ones are:

  • Only long-term sustainable fishing.
  • Possible contaminants are not to be led into the water.
  • Resource extraction of the seas should best be prohibited – or at least strictly regulated.

With these simple measures we could stabilize the ecosystem in the sea and prevent the threat of mass mortality. A fast implementation is highly questionable, thus all of us need to feel responsible and work together – now.

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