Earth’s oceans in dire state

The New Zealand Herald‘s Isaac Davison writes about the report released by the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO). The result of an interdisciplinary workshop, the report states that there will disaterous consequences if immediate action is taken to reduce the stresses placed on marine ecosystems.

SciBlogger Gareth Renowden has also covered the report for his climate change blog Hot Topic, which you can read here.

An excerpt from the Herald (read in full here):

Sick oceans threaten NZ’s seas

New Zealand’s marine life will not be spared a looming phase of extinction which scientists have predicted is closer and more alarming than first thought.

An international study has found that fish, sharks and whales are at high risk of an extinction crisis at a scale not seen in human history.

The study by the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (Ipso), which includes research from the University of Canterbury, concludes that mass extinctions are inevitable if human impacts are unchanged.

An interdisciplinary workshop at Oxford University used existing research to measure the collective effect of stresses on the world’s oceans including pollution, acidification, ocean warming, over-fishing and oxygen loss.

Ipso’s scientific director, Alex Rogers, said the findings were shocking.

“As we considered the cumulative effect of what humankind does to the ocean, the implications became far worse than we had individually realised.”

New Zealand marine experts said this country had relatively low pollution and over-fishing problems, but was still vulnerable to mass events.