Saving the Ocean: Overfishing, pollution, habitat destruction and climate change

A Monterey Bay Aquarium Release

Now, at last, the scientific community is speaking with a single voice about the best ways to address the threats and preserve a healthy Pacific.

Photo by F. Bonocorrso

Photo by F. Bonaccorso

More than 400 leading scientists from nearly two-dozen countries have signed a consensus statement on the major threats facing the Pacific Ocean. The threats identified as the most serious and pervasive include overfishing, pollution, habitat destruction and climate change.

“This is first time the scientific community has come together in a single voice to express urgency over the environmental crisis facing the Pacific Ocean,” according to Meg Caldwell, executive director of the Center for Ocean Solutions, who will present the statement on Wednesday to government officials gathered at the World Ocean Conference 2009 in Manado, Indonesia.

In the consensus statement, the scientists warn that if left unchecked, the cumulative impacts of overfishing, pollution and habitat destruction—exacerbated by climate change—could have devastating consequences for coastal economies, food supplies, public health and political stability.

These threats affect all members of the Pacific Ocean community, said Stephen Palumbi, director of Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Station and one of the principal organizers of the consensus statement.

A seal caught in ghost nets and fishing line.  Courtesy of

A seal caught in ghost nets and fishing line. Courtesy of

Now, says Biliana Cicin-Sain, a professor of marine policy at the University of Delaware and coordinator of the Global Forum on Oceans, Coasts and Islands, Pacific nations have a roadmap by which they can chart “a new course of policy for the Pacific region.”

The consensus statement was largely based on a synthesis of more than 3,400 scientific papers
on the threats and impacts to the Pacific prepared by the Monterey, Calif.-based Center for Ocean Solutions — a collaboration among Stanford University, the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.

The center focuses on finding practical, enduring solutions to major challenges facing the oceans.


Categories: Condition of Oceans, Saving the Oceans

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1 reply

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