Tue. Apr 20th, 2021

Ocean life is increasingly threatened: offshore drilling has polluted ocean waters while overfishing has stripped fish populations of their abundance, pushing stocks to the point of collapse. Oceans are also taking the heat of climate change, forcing migratory species to travel farther north in search of cooler, oxygen-rich waters and putting them into conflict with the species already at home near the poles. If nothing is done, future generations may one day encounter an ocean that is totally unrecognizable, its once great diversity of life turned into a relic of the past. But that future is not inevitable: we can put in place policies to give our ocean a fighting chance. In the United States, the federal and state governments must take urgent action to boost our ocean’s resilience against severe threats, and ensure the preservation of ocean ecosystems and conservation of marine life. The first step we must take is protecting 30% of our oceans with marine protected areas by 2030. Marine protected areas (MPAs), when well-sited, well-managed and durable, provide ocean ecosystems with the capacity to restore damaged marine populations, protect endangered species and recover faster from climate-caused disasters. This was the conclusion of a recent report I co-authored titled “New Life for the Ocean: How Marine Protections Keep Our Waters Wild.” MPAs work by removing additional, direct pressure — like commercial fishing or offshore drilling — from ecosystems that might already be experiencing stress from climate change, ocean noise or water pollution. Removing these forms of human…This article was originally published on Mongabay
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