Bad News, Good News for the Oceans - Oceana USA
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June 23, 2011

Bad News, Good News for the Oceans

Do you want the good news or the bad news first? Let’s start with the bad:

In a new report released this week, the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO) warns that ocean life is “at high risk of entering a phase of extinction of marine species unprecedented in human history”.

The preliminary report from IPSO is the result of the first-ever interdisciplinary international workshop examining the combined impact of all of the stressors currently affecting the oceans, including pollution, warming, ocean acidification, overfishing and hypoxia.

It turns out that the confluence of overfishing, pollution and climate change is worse than previously thought, as Oceana’s Senior Vice President and Chief Scientist Mike Hirshfield explains to CBS News in this clip:

OK, now for the good news: Juliet Eilperin reports that despite all the aforementioned threats facing the oceans, some areas still teem with life, such as the eastern Pacific’s California Current.

The Census of Marine Life’s decade-long Tagging of Pacific Predators project illustrates how the California Current (which flows south along the West Coast of the U.S., Canada and Mexico) and a trans-oceanic migration highway called the North Pacific Transition Zone provide a critical habitat for many species, including sharks, sea turtles and bluefin tuna.

 And what’s more, the scientists point out, because these commutes largely take place within the exclusive economic zones of the U.S., Canada and Mexico, it is possible to protect these areas so they stay vibrant and productive. And that’s a great reason to be optimistic, wouldn’t you agree?