General Article Threats to oceans and coasts

Oceans. For centuries people have regarded them as an inexhaustible supply of food, a useful transport route, and a convenient dumping ground – simply too vast to be affected by anything we do. But human activity, particularly over the last few decades, has finally pushed oceans to their limit.

Major threats to the world’s oceans include:

Unsustainable fishing

90% of the world’s fisheries are already fully exploited or overfished, while billions of unwanted fish and other animals die needlessly each year. Unsustainable fishing is the largest threat to ocean life and habitats . . . not to mention the livelihoods and food security of over a billion people.

Inadaquate protection

They might cover over 70% of our planet’s surface, but only a tiny fraction of the oceans has been protected: just 3.4%. Even worse, the vast majority of the world’s few marine parks and reserves are protected in name only. Without more and better managed Marine Protected Areas, the future of the ocean’s rich b...

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