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Seas at Serious Risk

Oxford, 20th June 2011. An international panel of marine experts has warned that the world’s oceans are at a high risk of entering a phase of extinction of marine species unprecedented in human history.

In a report published by the International Programme on the State of the Ocean, the scientific panel made the following devastating conclusions:

• The combination of stresses the world’s oceans are exposed to are creating the conditions associated with every previous major extinction of species in Earth’s history
• The speed of degeneration of the world’s oceans is far faster than anyone has predicted and worse than previously anticipated.
• The decline in reef-forming corals could be the first sign of a globally-significant extinction.

The report makes a series of recommendations and calls on states, regional bodies and the United Nations to act to save ocean ecosystems. These recommendations include an urgent requirement for the UN to establish effective governance of the high seas, to all nations to reduce fishing to levels which can be shown to be sustainable, the establishment of a system of marine protected areas to conserve biodiversity, and more concerted efforts to prevent pollution of our waterways and seas.

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