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Tuesday, 13 November 2018 03:06

Untouched ocean habitats shrinking rapidly, study says Featured

Shipping, pollution and overfishing have reduced areas of “wilderness” to just 13 % of the world’s oceans, a study, warning that untouched marine habitats could completely vanish within half a century. International researchers analyzing the impact of human activity on underwater ecosystems — from fertilizer runoff to increased sea transport — have mapped the dwindling zones considered pristine.

The bulk of remaining ocean wilderness, classed as “mostly free of human disturbance,” was found in the Arctic and Antarctic, and around remote Pacific islands.

Just 5 % of the wilderness areas are in protected zones, leaving the rest vulnerable, according to the study published in the journal Current Biology. It called for greater international coordination to regulate the world’s oceans, clamp down on overfishing, limit destructive ocean-mining and reduce sediment runoff.

Last year, the United Nations began negotiating its first conservation treaty for the high seas, which would be a legally binding act governing the sustainable use of oceans outside national maritime boundaries.

Source: AFP, 27 July 2018

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