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A new study published in the journal Nature has revealed that oceans are remarkably resilient and could be restored to health by 2050 if “major pressures—including climate change—are mitigated.” As the BBC reported, the researchers identified nine components that are key to rebuilding the oceans: salt marshes, mangroves, seagrasses, coral reefs, kelp, oyster reefs, fisheries, megafauna and the deep ocean.
But the study authors noted that the window of opportunity for humans to take necessary action to meet these goals is quickly closing.
Overall, the study authors issued 45 recommendations.
And while the cost of these efforts would be roughly $10-20 billion a year, the investments would bring benefits 10 times as high.
The Study: The authors of the study were an international group of authors that reviewed hundreds of case studies on revitalized marine ecosystems, including:
A rebound of fish stocks during both world wars due to a decrease in fishing.
Coral reefs that recovered from nuclear tests in the South Pacific.
Improved conditions in the Black and Adriatic seas after the collapse of the Soviet Union led to a reduction in fertilizer use.
A major decrease in trawling in the Scotian Shelf led to the recovery of halibut and barndoor skate, two species of fish that had been approaching extinction.
Even Bikini Atoll in the South Pacific which was the site of at least two Hiroshima-size atomic tests, as well as the detonation of the world’s first hydrogen bomb, has recovered to become a premier diving spot.
Study co-author Prof Callum Roberts from the University of York explained that “Science gives us reason to be optimistic about the future of our oceans, but we are not currently doing enough in the UK or globally.”
Why This Matters: This study shows that ocean conservation works. When we protect our ecosystems they can recover but we have to make the commitment to do so. This year was supposed to be a “super year” for conservation after December’s Blue COP, but it’s likely that the COVID-19 pandemic could disrupt many of the crucial meetings that were set to take place (just yesterday COP26 was moved to 2021). Thus it will be incumbent upon us here in the United States to ensure that conservation stays on our national agenda–as we begin hashing out the next rounds of the stimulus and as the 2020 election progresses.
By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer Last summer, Florida created its first aquatic preserve in over 30 years. The Nature Coast Aquatic Preserve protects about 400,000 acres of seagrass just north of Tampa on Florida’s Gulf coast. These are part of the Gulf of Mexico’s largest seagrass bed and borders other existing preserves, creating a […]
A new study has found that whale songs can be a powerful tool for mapping the ocean floor. Seismic testing done by humans can harm whales and other marine life, but by using whale songs instead, scientists believe the practice can be adapted to be much less harmful to marine populations.
Why This Matters: For years, the fossil fuel industry has hauled “seismic guns” behind large boats, blasting loud, harmful bursts of sound that disturb sea life and impair the sonar of animals like whales and dolphins.
Much as our national parks on land are some of our greatest natural treasures, marine national monuments safeguard precious ecosystems and protect them now and for future generations. The National Marine Sanctuary System encompasses more than 600,000 square miles of marine and Great Lakes waters, and contains amazing cultural and historical resources, as well as […]
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