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The Five Biggest Threats to Our Oceans in 2020

The Five Biggest Threats to Our Oceans in 2020

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Dying Coral Reefs

Thousands of animal species make their homes in tropical coral reefs, making them the most diverse marine ecosystems on earth. Unfortunately, we are facing reef loss at alarming rates. National Geographic reported last year that 50% of the Great Barrier Reef is dead and it is almost entirely due to human activity. Coral reefs face a variety of stressors, including unsustainable tourism, rising sea temperatures, pollution and overfishing. These factors culminate in coral bleaching, a process that eventually kills reefs. The fishing industry is dependent on coral to support marine life but it also protects coastlines from the damaging effects of surging seas. The rippling effects could cause even broader collapse. In an interview for Business Insider, marine scientist Michael Crosby explains the dire consequences:

“Estimates are that up to 80% of the oxygen you are breathing in right now comes from the ocean. It doesn’t come from the land. In order for you to continue to breathe, you have to have a healthy ocean.”

Solutions

  • Practise safe boating - anchor in sandy areas away from coral and sea grasses so that the anchor and chain do not drag on nearby corals
  • If you dive, don't touch - coral is extremely fragile and contact with humans can destroy its protective layer of mucus

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