With more than half of global fisheries exhausted and a further third depleted, the world’s oceans are in fragile state.
Reports say that between 30 and 35 per cent of critical marine environments such as seagrasses, mangroves and coral reefs – estimated to have been destroyed.
In addition, plastic debris continues to kill marine life. The pollution from land is creating areas of coastal waters that are almost devoid of oxygen as well.
On his remarks marking the International Day for Biological Diversity, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged greater protection for marine biodiversity.
According to Mr. Ban, oceans cover almost three-quarters of the surface area of the globe.
“They are home to the largest animal known to have lived on the planet – the blue whale – as well as billions upon billions of the tiniest of microorganisms. From sandy shores to the darkest depths of the sea, oceans and coasts support a rich tapestry of life on which human communities rely.” – Mr. Ban
He pointed out that despite its importance, marine biodiversity has not fared well at human hands.
The theme for this year’s observance is marine diversity.
In his message, Mr. Ban noted the impact of commercial over-exploitation of the world’s fish stocks.
He adds that increased burning of fossil fuels is affecting the global climate, making the sea surface warmer, causing sea level to rise and increasing ocean acidity.
According to the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the survival of marine and coastal ecosystems and biodiversity is essential to the nutritional, spiritual, societal and religious well-being of many communities.
Amidst the concerns over the future of marine biodiversity, Mr. Ban said, “there is hope.”
He notes that despite all the damage inflicted on marine wildlife and habitats over the past centuries, between ten and 50 per cent of populations and ecosystems have shown some recovery when human threats were reduced or removed.
“Lately, some progress is being made, particularly with the establishment of large-scale marine reserves and documenting areas of ecological or biological significance in open-ocean and deep-sea habitats.” -Mr. Ban
Mr. Ban said the upcoming UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) next month, will provide veue to recommit to building on advances made so far.
On june 2011, Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon t warned that the world’s oceans face major threats in the years ahead.
Mr. Ban called on all governments and peoples to play their part to ensure that the oceans are protected for future generations.
In a statement issued to mark World Oceans Day in 2011, Mr. Ban outlined what he called “many severe challenges related to oceans.
He cited the challenges range from depleted fishery resources, the impacts of climate change and the deterioration of the marine environment to maritime safety and security, labour conditions for seafarers and the increasingly important issue of migration by sea.
According to a research, the world’s oceans are dying! Mass extinctions of species in the world’s oceans are inevitable if current trends of overfishing, habitat loss, global warming and pollution continue, a group of world renowned marine scientists gave the chilling warning in June.
A variety of problems indicates that a worldwide die-off is brewing on the horizon. The potential loss of species is on the scale of past mass extinctions as well.