Scientists Say Only 13% of World’s Oceans Is Away Human Touch

Humans are very selfish and there is no doubt about that. We have created things which are destroying the nature and wildlife to a great extent. In spite of living exceptionally selfish lives, people are still not satisfied with what they have. They keep wanting more and needing more.

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Below is a list of stories that will inspire you and push you to do something for the environment.

Oceans cover approximately 70 per cent of the earth's surface. Now, only 13.2 per cent of the world's seas which is about 20.8 million square miles (54million square kilometres) is untouched says a new study.

"Almost all of that wilderness is located in the Arctic, the Antarctic or around remote, Pacific Island nations," study co-author Kendall Jones, a doctoral student at the University of Queensland in Australia and a conservation planning specialist with the Wildlife Conservation Society told a leading daily whose expertise lies in the field of science.

"And in coastal regions, where human activity is the most intense, there's almost no wilderness left at all," Jones added. "And we also found that almost all wilderness is currently unprotected, leaving it vulnerable to being lost at any time as improvements in fishing and shipping technology allow us to get further into the ocean and fish deeper."

Jones said this is perhaps just as disturbing and much of the wilderness is unprotected: Just 4.9 per cent of that marine wilderness exists in marine protected areas, where regulations restrict human activities, the study authors found.

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To identify wilderness, which the study authors defined as areas "free from intense human activity," Jones said, they compiled data on the levels of various human activities in the seas. Then, they identified the areas showing the least of these activities.

Specifically, they assigned each square kilometre of the ocean a value for how much it was affected by each of 15 human-caused factors, such as fishing, commercial shipping, and runoff from nutrients and pesticides, and four climate-change-related factors, including ocean acidification and sea-level rise.

To qualify as wilderness, an area had to pass two tests: It had to score within the lowest 10 per cent of the range of impact values for all 15 human factors, and it had to score within the lowest 10 per cent of values for cumulative impact, which included all 15 factors plus the climate-change-related factors. (The researchers did not include climate change within the first test because, if they had, none of the ocean would have qualified as wilderness, Jones said.)

They then compared the wilderness areas with maps of marine protected areas to determine which of the wilderness areas were protected.

 

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Yet over half that is 66 per cent of the marine wilderness exists in the high seas, which are waters over which no country has jurisdiction, Jones said. Some background: Every country controls the natural resources in the waters out to a certain distance — 200 nautical miles — from their shores, Jones said. The high seas are so far from land that no country controls them. Because of the high seas' remoteness, the researchers had expected to find high levels of the wilderness there, but they found less wilderness than they had anticipated, Jones said.

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So, what does the future hold? That depends on our course of action. "Protecting [marine wilderness areas] is crucial if we're going to protect the full range of marine biodiversity into the future," Jones said.

To do so, the authors believe that first, countries should identify the wilderness areas within their jurisdiction that are in the greatest danger of being lost and designate them as marine protected areas, Jones said.

"Subsidy reform for those nations could be another way to discourage the erosion of these last wilderness areas," Jones said.

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"What we're arguing for is a dual-pronged approach, where at one end, you're stopping species and ecosystems [from] going extinct, and at the other end, you're saving the last intact places that are under low impact," Jones said.

by Admin | Tue, Sep 11 - 01:42 PM

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