(Overview and graphics courtesy of One World One Ocean)
The ocean is Earth’s life support
- 50 to 70 % of our oxygen comes from the ocean. That’s more than all of the world’s rainforests combined.
- The ocean is the #1 source of protein for more than a billion people.
- The ocean regulates our climate, absorbs carbon dioxide, holds 97% of Earth’s water, and supports the greatest abundance of life on our planet.
- More than 60% of the world’s population lives on or near the coast. The ocean provides a livelihood, recreation, beauty, wonder, and untapped scientific discovery, leading to new medications, foods, and advanced technologies.
Everyone, everywhere depends on a healthy sea.
But the ocean is in trouble
- 90% of the big fish are gone. Tuna, swordfish, halibut, cod, and flounder populations have been devastated by overfishing.
- The average size of the remaining big fish has been cut in half or less in the last 50 years. The average weight of a swordfish caught today is 90 lbs., down from 266 lbs. in 1960.
- Discarded plastics have formed a toxic “plastic soup” that is gathering in 5 massive ocean gyres around the world. As the plastic breaks down, it is eaten by sea animals, causing illness and death. It eventually enters our diets, too.
- There are a reported 405 ocean “dead zones” — areas where there is little to no oxygen due to fertilizer run-off and nitrogen pollution. Dead zones are doubling every ten years.
- Our oceans account for 71% of the planet, but less than 2% of our oceans are protected. We have protections in place for nearly 12% of all land (through areas like national parks).
What happens if we do nothing?
- Many popular seafood species will likely be wiped out within 40 years with current fishing practices.
- Unless we change our rate of consumption, we’re within a century — possibly even less — of a world where jellyfish are the only wild seafood option left.
- The ocean is at a tipping point. Oceanographer Sylvia Earle says our actions over the next 10 years will determine the state of the ocean for the next 10,000 years.