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Mar 122012
 

From Green Right Now Reports

Our oceans, long taken for granted, are being stressed by pollution, over-fishing and climate change. Plastic gyres, swirling pools of plastic refuse, occupy several spots in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. The largest one, in the North Pacific, is estimated to exceed the size of Texas.

These giant garbage patches are just one problem threatening the well being of earth’s oceans. Another major threat comes from fertilizer run off that has created oxygen-depleted dead zones in oceans around the globe, wherever rivers dump this waste.

With vast seas around the globe open for business to all, over-fishing may beat pollution as the key threat to oceans. Fishing across the planet has surpassed levels that are sustainable. The majority of fish populations are now classified as over fished or at risk of imminent collapse. Yet 1 billion people around the planet depend upon fish as their main source of protein, and millions of people (see below) depend upon the oceans for their livelihood.

These linked, but disparate problems — pollution, unsustainable fishing practices, jobs at risk — won’t be solved easily. That’s why several environmental and conservation groups working around the globe have formed the Global Partnership for Oceans. The groups, which include the World Ocean Council, Oceana, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), United Nations Development Programme, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), National Fisheries Institute, IUCN and several more, hope that together they can save the marine environment before human pressures cause natural fisheries to collapse. The World Bank is helping coordinate the coalition, which launched in February and is based in Washington D.C. and Singapore.

Here, from the partnership’s infographic are just a few reasons the oceans need immediate attention. See the entire graphic at the GPO’s website.

Dead zones occur everywhere. In the Gulf of Mexico, dead zones deplete the oyster and shrimp populations.

Fish populations are in decline everywhere, in part because of destructive fishing practices.

Fishing jobs are only as sustainable as their catch; saving oceans and coastal habitat has another benefit, they absorb carbon from the atmosphere.