Monday 23 January 2017

Half of ocean life has died out in the last 45 years, says the WWF

Alister Doyle

Published 17/09/2015 | 17:22

Some 1,300 species, including seals and dolphins, are under threat, says WWF Credit: Antonio Bronic
Some 1,300 species, including seals and dolphins, are under threat, says WWF Credit: Antonio Bronic

The amount of fish in the oceans has plunged to the "brink of collapse" due to over-fishing, says the WWF conservation group.

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Overfishing and other similar threats have caused the number of fish and animals in the ocean to have halved since 1970 with World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) calling the situation ‘critical’

Not only fish are dying out, some 1,234 species, such as seals, turtles, dolphins and sharks are also at risk.

“There is a massive, massive decrease in species which are critical,” said Marco Lambertini, director general of WWF International. 

Populations of some commercial fish stocks, such as a group including tuna, mackerel and bonito, had fallen by almost 75 pc, according to a study by the WWF and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).

Mr Lambertini told Reuters mismanagement was pushing "the ocean to the brink of collapse".

"There is a massive, massive decrease in species which are critical", both for the ocean ecosystem and food security for billions of people, he said.

"The ocean is resilient but there is a limit.

"The report said populations of fish, marine mammals, birds and reptiles had fallen 49 pc between 1970 and 2012."

For fish alone, the decline was 50 pc," he added.

The analysis tracked 5,829 populations of 1,234 species, such as seals, turtles and dolphins and sharks.

"This report suggests that billions of animals have been lost from the world's oceans in my lifetime alone," Ken Norris, director of science at the ZSL, said in a statement.

"This is a terrible and dangerous legacy to leave to our grandchildren.

"Damage to coral reefs and mangroves, which are nurseries for many fish, add to problems led by over-fishing.

"Other threats include coastal development, pollution and climate change, which is raising temperatures and making waters more acidic."

The study said the world's fishing fleets were too big and supported by subsidies totalling €12-34 billion a year.

Reuters

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