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We need your help to ask President Barack Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency to get working on a bold plan to curb ocean acidification. Carbon dioxide pollution is also being absorbed by the ocean, causing its chemistry to change and become more acidic.

This spells trouble for marine animals that are now having difficulty building shells, growing and sometimes even surviving in increasingly corrosive waters. Damian Carrington Seafood is the critical source of protein for more than 2. Official catch data from FAO rarely includes small-scale, sport or illegal fishing and does not count fish discarded at sea.

A more exhaustive study, taking over a decade shows that the annual catches between and were much bigger than thought, but that the decline after the peak year of was much faster than official figures. The new research estimates the peak catch was million tons, but declined at 1. Prof Daniel Pauly, at the University of British Columbia in Canada and who led the work, said the decline is very strong and "is due to countries having fished too much and having exhausted one fishery after another.

While the results necessarily remain uncertain, they undoubtedly represent our most complete picture yet of the global state of fish catches. But after , few undiscovered fisheries were left and catches started to decline. The decline since has largely been in fish caught by industrial fleets and to a lesser extent a cut in the number of unwanted fish discarded at sea.

On resumption, catches were bigger than ever. We know how to fix this problem but whether we do it or not depends on conditions that are difficult. Illegal and pirate fishing take place in many parts of the world. We can also see, that in efforts to stem declines, we have been using more and more bycatch that was once thrown away. Jeremy Hance Seabirds have been around for sixty million years, and they are true survivalists: But now seabirds seabird abundance has dropped Edd Hammill with Utah State University and co-author of the paper, noted: Living on both the open ocean and the shoreline, they face overfishing, drowning in fishing lines or nets, plastic pollution, invasive species like rats in nesting areas, oil and gas development and toxic pollution moving up the food chain.

And then there is climate change and ocean acidification which threaten to flood nesting sites and disrupt food sources. Seabirds are about twice as likely as land-based birds to be threatened with extinction. Hammill said the "most pressing issue" is plastic pollution. Seabirds continually mistake plastic for fish eggs, devouring large amounts. Birds even feed plastic bits to their young, killing their fledglings en masse.

In the end, large-scale actions to help seabirds could also go a long way in cleaning-up our increasingly trashed marine ecosystems. All of these activities need investment and support of governments around the world to make them happen," Lascelles said. But we may as well think of it as the heartbeat of the world ocean system. Near Greenland in the North Atlantic, salty, dense, ocean water issuing from the tropics along the Gulf Stream begins to cool.

The heavier water, burdened with salt, sinks to the bottom in the North Atlantic. This drives a massive ocean conveyer belt, driving less oxygen rich bottom waters to the surface where they can be reinvigorated.

It also drives this ocean revitalizing train of currents through every major corner of the world ocean. This disruption could be caused by warmer, salty water cooling and sinking in the North Atlantic.

And any disruption of the overturning process in the North Atlantic basically kills off a life-giving circulation to the entire world ocean system. For details and graphs, click on the link in the headline.

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But as ecologist Douglas McCauley explains in a Yale Environment interview, marine life now face numerous threats even more serious than overfishing. Fen Montaigne A group of marine experts published a study in the journal Science which drew conclusions that were both heartening and disturbing: While ocean ecosystems are still largely intact, the marine world is facing unprecedented disturbance, including acidification from the absorption of greenhouse gases and widespread habitat destruction from deep-sea mining, oil and gas drilling, development, and aquaculture.

And the numbers involved are a bit scary -- a million square kilometers that have been staked out in this marine gold rush" "There are two major changes that are happening in the oceans as a result of climate change - changing temperature and acidification. But there is a growing awareness that we need to build international alliances to think about marine wildlife issues. Alex Renton Rising greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are causing global temperatures to rise, which is leading to the melting of the polar ice caps, which in turn has resulted in rising sea levels and a host of ecological issues.

The oceans are taking up the greenhouse gases that we dump into the air, which turns the waters deadly to its inhabitants. Bivalves such as clams, oysters and mussels use calcium carbonate to make their shells. However, in as little as 20 years they will be very different and, in some parts of the world, entirely gone. A significant amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere comes from the burning of carbon fuels. Carbon dioxide is absorbed by seawater, lowering the pH level and increasing its acidity.

It has already gone down to 8. Along the coasts and out in the deep, huge "dead zones" have been multiplying. Vast blooms of algae-organisms that thrive in more acid and less alkaline seawater and are fed by pollution-have already rendered parts of the Baltic Sea pretty much dead.

The same shifts that happened over the course of a few thousand years during the PETM Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum are now due to happen over just a few centuries, counting from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution and the widespread use of fossil fuels. One ray of hope is that the Obama administration announced a series of measures aimed to conserve the ocean as a key food supply.

These included more ocean sanctuaries to curtail overfishing, and new funds to research ocean biochemistry, including acidification. In this radically changed environment, some creatures died out while others adapted and evolved. The study is the first to use the chemical composition of fossils to reconstruct surface ocean acidity at the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum PETM , a period of intense warming on land and throughout the oceans due to high CO2.

But that uptake of carbon has come at a price. Chemical reactions caused by that excess CO2 have made seawater grow more acidic, depleting it of the carbonate ions that corals, mollusks and calcifying plankton need to build their shells and skeletons.

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For more, follow the link at http: Under this intense pressure global fisheries are collapsing. Of the 21 marine species known to have been driven extinct in the past years, 16 disappeared since Randy Shore Ten million scallops that have died in the waters near Qualicum Beach due to rising ocean acidity are the latest victims in a series of marine die-offs that have plagued the West Coast for a decade.

Human-caused carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere are being absorbed by the ocean and may have pushed local waters through a "tipping point" of acidity beyond which shellfish cannot survive, according to Chris Harley, a marine ecologist at the University of B. Rising ocean acidity is a global phenomenon, made worse by higher natural acidity in local waters, Harley said. High acidity interferes with the ability of baby scallops to form a protective shell, forcing them to expend more energy and making them more vulnerable to predators and infection.

Scallop operations big and small are reporting die-offs this year. Mysterious scallop die-offs have also been reported in China since Oyster die-offs in Washington state and Oregon dating back a decade have also been linked by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration researchers to acidification and rising carbon dioxide levels. Oyster larvae started dying inexplicably in Researchers found that deep water welling up from the depths of the ocean was mixing with surface water rich in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, rendering the water uninhabitable to some shellfish.

Several other stresses include overfishing and eutrophication excess fertilizers adding to depletion of oxygen in the water. Together they create significant challenges for ocean ecosystems. November 25, , Science Recorder Facts on overfishing: The cod fishery off Newfoundland, Canada collapsed in , leading to the loss of some 40, jobs in the industry.

Twenty years later, the fishery has yet to recover. For the other 7 facts about overfishing, click on the link in the headlines. Ending Overfishing May 21, , You Tube Despite an increased awareness of overfishing, the majority of people still know very little about the scale of the destruction being wrought on the oceans.

This film presents an unquestionable case for why overfishing needs to end and shows that there is still an opportunity for change. Fisheries ministers and members of the European Parliament, MEPs, are negotiating a deal for the future EU fisheries subsidies, which should support and end to EU overfishing. In the meantime you can support the campaign to end overfishing by signing the petition at: Beth Daley Fishery regulators are likely to impose devastating cuts on the New England fishing fleet in the vast Gulf of Maine; however, blame for the disappearance of once-abundant cod and flounder populations is shifting from fishermen to warming waters and an evolving ocean ecosystem possibly related to man-made climate change.

To ease the pain, the New England Fishery Management Council, a governmental body made up fishermen, industry representatives, state officials, and environmentalists, will also decide whether to open more than 5, square miles of conservation area now closed to most fishermen.

Fishermen are struggling to comprehend how the sacrifices they made in the last decade to idle boats and catch fewer fish were for naught. The sea floor is recording temperatures of NOAA research shows that about half of 36 fish stocks they analyzed in recent years, including cod, flounder, and lesser-known species, have been shifting northward or into deeper waters in the last four decades. While locally caught Atlantic cod are disappearing from restaurants and stores, other fish that thrive in warmer water, such as Atlantic croaker, could take their place.

The timing of spring plankton blooms -- the foundation of the marine food web -- may also be shifting, scientists say, coming earlier in the spring, as it did this year.

Plankton changes, combined with rising ocean temperatures, could affect the success of young marine life because so many species time their spawning to the spring bloom. Predator fish that feed on cod are increasing in the area. Chaos theory asserts that - as an increasing number of essential parts of a complex system break down - such as a stock market, climate or mechanical engine - the overall system is destabilized, and its exact behavior becomes impossible to predict.

The relationships between parts within the system become so complex and the changes occur so rapidly that scientists cannot keep up. By the time they identify a problem and propose a solution, their work becomes obsolete, their discoveries made irrelevant. This fact can make it difficult to trust their predictions. With 9 billion people expected by , that number will assuredly rise, as will the importance of our understanding of how ecological systems deteriorate.

Predictive models can remain meaningful in the short term, but over time, the growing number of variables that play a role in determining the fate of any plant or animal becomes virtually impossible to make sense of. In their efforts to understand the unraveling, scientists can only scramble to bring their models up to date as their subjects approach levels of complexity that lie beyond the power of any human to comprehend.

The researchers had expected levels ten times lower. The Southern Ocean is rich in wildlife, from penguins and fish to seals and whales. Chris Bowler, scientific co-ordinator of Tara Oceans said, "We had always assumed that this was a pristine environment, very little touched by human beings.

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The fact that we found these plastics is a sign that the reach of human beings is truly planetary in scale. In addition, synthetic fibres, largely made up of clothing residues from washing machines, also comprised a significant portion of the plastic fragments they found. Plastic pollution has many long-lasting and even fatal impacts on marine life.