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Marine Species Populations Halved Since 1970

Global populations of marine species have declined by 49 per cent since 1970, a WWF report reveals

Yesterday's WWF's Living Blue Planet report shows a dramatic decline in marine species between 1970 and 2012 caused by habitat loss, overfishing, rising sea temperatures, pollution and ocean acidification. 

Some fish species, particularly those relied on as human food source, such as tuna and mackerel, have even suffered a drop of 74 per cent. 

Dr Louise Heaps, Chief Advisor on Marine Policy at WWF-UK warns that more than the oceans' biodiversity is at stake: 'As well as being a source of extraordinary natural beauty and wonder, healthy seas are the bedrock of a functioning global economy. 

'By over-exploiting fisheries, degrading coastal habitats and not addressing global warming, we are sowing the seeds of ecological and economic catastrophe,' Heaps added.

Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International commented: 'In the space of a single generation, human activity has severely damaged the ocean by catching fish faster than they can reproduce while also destroying their nurseries. Profound changes are needed to ensure abundant ocean life for future generations.

'We are in a race to catch fish that could end with people starved of a vital food source and an essential economic engine. Overfishing, destruction of marine habitats and climate change have dire consequences for the entire human population, with the poorest communities that rely on the sea getting hit fastest and hardest,' Lambertini said.

The analysis tracked 5,829 populations of 1,234 species, from sea birds to sharks to leatherback turtles.






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