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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.
UNESCO has launched a new program to collect, analyze, and monitor environmental DNA (AKA eDNA) to better understand biodiversity at its marine World Heritage sites. Scientists will collect genetic material from fish cells, mucus, and waste across multiple locations along with eDNA from soil, water, and air. The two-year project will help experts assess […]
It’s about time we had a conversation about the birds and the bees…or in this case, the otters and the seagrass. A new study found that the ecological relationship between sea otters and the seagrass fields where they make their home is spurring the rapid reproduction of the plants. Otters dig up about 5% of […]
By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor An abandoned oil tanker off the coast of Yemen is deteriorating rapidly, and experts say that a hull breach could have far-reaching environmental impacts and threaten millions of people’s access to food and water supplies. The FSO SAFER tanker holds 1.1 million barrels of oil — more than four […]
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