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Capitalism Killing the Sea

by Ellen Hardy
08 August 2008, at 1:00am

US - The world ocean covers approximately 70 percent of the earth. It has been an integral part of human history, providing food and ecological services.

Yet, according to RedOrbit, conservation efforts and concerns with environmental degradation have mostly focused on terrestrial issues. Marine scientists and oceanographers have recently made remarkable discoveries in regard to the intricacies of marine food webs and the richness of oceanic biodiversity.

However, the excitement over these discoveries is dampened due to an awareness of the rapidly accelerating threat to the biological integrity of marine ecosystems. At the start of the twenty-first century marine scientists focused on the rapid depletion of marine fish, revealing that 75 percent of major fisheries are fully exploited, overexploited, or depleted.

It is estimated "that the global ocean has lost more than 90% of large predatory fishes." The depletion of ocean fish stock due to overfishing has disrupted metabolic relations within the oceanic ecosystem at multiple trophic and spatial scales, reports RedOrbit.

Despite warnings of impending collapse of fish stock, the oceanic crisis has only worsened. The severity is made evident in a recent effort to map the scale of human impact on the world ocean. A team of scientists analyzed seventeen types of anthropogenic drivers of ecological change (e.g., organic pollution from agricultural runoff, overfishing, carbon dioxide emissions, etc.) for marine ecosystems.

The findings are clear: No area of the world ocean "is unaffected by human influence," and over 40 percent of marine ecosystems are heavily affected by multiple factors. Polar seas are on the verge of significant change. Coral reefs and continental shelves have suffered severe deterioration.

Ellen Hardy