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According to the study, the loss of ocean biodiversity is accelerating,
and 29 percent of the seafood species humans consume have already
crashed. If the long-term trend continues, in 30 years there will be
little or no seafood available for sustainable harvest.
The increasing pace of diversity loss thus imperils the "ecosystems
services" that many human populations depend on for survival, the study
The research also found that biodiversity loss is tightly linked to
declining water quality, harmful algal blooms, ocean dead zones, fish
kills, and coastal flooding. (Related: 'Dead Zone' off Oregon Coast Is Growing, Study Says" [August 4, 2006].)
"Biodiversity is a finite resource, and we are going to end up with
nothing left ... if nothing changes," said Boris Worm, an assistant
professor of marine conservation biology at Dalhousie University in
Worm led the international team of scientists and economists that
examined the role of marine biodiversity in maintaining ecosystem
services. The research appears in tomorrow's issue of the journal Science.
But areas managed for improved biodiversity can and do recover, Worm
says, raising the possibility that the trend can be reversed if humans
"Where we [protect marine areas] around the world—from the tropics to
temperate ecosystems—we see an increase in species diversity and
productivity and stability and economic revenue from those ecosystems,"
he said. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/11/061102-seafood-threat.htm