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Ten Shocking Facts About the State of our Oceans


fact 1:  Overfishing

Commercial long-liners targeting swordfish accidentally kill 40,000 sea turtles, 300,000 seabirds, and millions of sharks annually.  these non-target catches make up as much as 25 percent of the global catch.

fact 2:  Ocean Warming

Ancient ice shelves are disintegrating and fears are growing that if the west antarctic ice sheet ever surges, it would raise sea levels by as much as 23 feet worldwide.

fact 3:  Marine Pollution

At least one in eight american women of childbearing age has unsafe levels of mercury in her blood, and 15 percent of babies born in the u.s. in 2000 were exposed to unacceptable levels of mercury.

fact 4:  Eutrophication

Nutrient deposits from the mighty Mississippi river outflow into the gulf of mexico delivering enough nitrogen to stimulate explosions of plankton and microalgae, which deplete oxygen below the level necessary to sustain life. the result is the second largest dead zone in the world, an area larger than new jersey.

fact 5:  Coral Reefs

Global climate change is the single greatest threat to coral reefs. As it stands, 20 percent of the world’s reefs are not likely to recover, and another 50 percent hang in the balance.

fact 6:  Ocean Noise

The navy’s low frequency active sonar (lfa), used to detect almost-silent diesel submarines, is such an intense sound source it has been associated with the death and stranding of some species of whales.

fact 7:  Carbon Dioxide

About half of the total co2 emitted into the atmosphere is absorbed back into the ocean increasing its acidity. The level of acidity expected for 2050 predicts that shells and skeletons possessed by corals, mollusks, and phytoplankton would dissolve within 48 hours of exposure.

fact 8: Protected Areas

in 2014, the world conservation union listed 209,000 (quite an improvement!) protected areas on earth. However, only 3.41% of ocean areas are protected - although the marine coverage has increased significantly over the last years, it still remains much lower than the 10% coverage for marine and coastal areas

fact 9:  Marine Biodiversity

Under current conditions, the North Atlantic right whale, are predicted to go extinct within the next 200 years.  Leatherback sea turtles have been a part of our planet for the past one hundred million years; the next ten may be their last, Hawaiian false killer whales are now listed as endangered, while and the southern resident orcas are listed in both Canada and the United States.

fact 10:  Invasive Species

behind habitat destruction, invasive species are the greatest threat to native species.  it is estimated that more than 10,000 marine species each day travel around the globe in the ballast water of cargo ships, and are accidentally introduced into new areas.

taken from the Hawaii Association for Marine Education and Research, inc.
dedicated to preserving hawaii's marine life through research and education