photo credit Dr. Julian Finn & The Museum of Victoria
The Census of Marine Life (CoML), a 10-year long study undertaken by over 360 scientists, was published on Monday. It estimates that there are over 230,000 species living in our oceans.
"The surveys have also highlighted major areas of concern for conservationists. "In every region, they've got the same story of a major collapse of what were usually very abundant fish stocks or crabs or crustaceans that are now only 5-10% of what they used to be," said Mark Costello of the Leigh Marine Laboratory, University of Auckland in New Zealand. "These are largely due to over-harvesting and poor management of those fisheries. That's probably the biggest and most consistent threat to marine biodiversity around the world.""
The great thing about this new abundance of information is that it will allow policy makers to make more informed decisions about where the best areas to protect will be.
"This inventory was urgently needed for two reasons," said Costello. "First, dwindling expertise in taxonomy impairs society's ability to discover and describe new species. And secondly, marine species have suffered major declines – in some cases 90% losses – because of human activities and may be heading for extinction, as happened to many species on land."
Exciting! I've been hearing about this for some time now...Glad it's finally here! I highly recommend everyone who reads this checks out these photos of some of the species discovered!!
Full article here (The Guardian)