International Earth System Expert Workshop on Ocean Stresses and Impacts: Summary Report

International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO) | International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) | World Commission on Protected Areas (UN webcast announcing the report)

An international panel of marine experts warns in a report released today that the world’s ocean is at high risk of entering a phase of extinction of marine species unprecedented in human history.

The preliminary report arises from the first ever interdisciplinary international workshop to consider the cumulative impact of all stressors affecting the ocean. Considering the latest research across all areas of marine science, the workshop
examined the combined effects of pollution, acidification, ocean warming, over-fishing and hypoxia (deoxygenation).

The scientific panel concluded that:

• The combination of stressors on the ocean is creating the conditions associated with every previous major extinction of
species in Earth’s history
• The speed and rate of degeneration in the ocean is far faster than anyone has predicted
• Many of the negative impacts previously identified are greater than the worst predictions.
• Although difficult to assess because of the unprecedented speed of change, the first steps to globally significant extinction may have begun with a rise in the extinction threat to marine species such as reef-­forming corals


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