Pacific Ocean faces threats that will render some coastal areas uninhabitable

Date June 2, 2009



WASHINGTON – A new research by scientists has determined that the Pacific Ocean, occupying a third of the planet’s area, faces threats that will render some coastal areas uninhabitable.

According to a report in ENN (Environmental News Network), pollution such as sewage, runoff from land and toxic waste; habitat destruction; over-fishing; and climate change leading to sea level rise, ocean acidification and warming will all interact to damage the ocean’s ecology and coastal economies.

These are among the findings of ‘Pacific Ocean Synthesis,’ a report by the US-based Center for Ocean Solutions (COS) that reviewed more than 3,400 scientific articles and reports from 50 countries in the Pacific basin.

The study divided the Pacific Ocean into seven regions, revealing threats and potential solutions for each.

Widely applicable solutions include capacity building in ocean management, efforts to adapt to climate change and reduce over fishing, and using information technologies to monitor and share information, according to Noah Idechong, a COS researcher from the Pacific Island of Palau.

“All should be high priority,” he said.

“Synthesizing information gives us a good idea of what is happening (in the Pacific Ocean). I think one of the most important findings is that so much (research) has been done,” he added.

The report also summarizes various gaps in research, such as insufficient information about different pollution effects, the need for standardized biodiversity and water quality monitoring and poor information about the socioeconomic effects of sea surface temperature rises.The capacity to analyze and communicate information, and to make use of monitoring systems to network and share solutions, is one of the gaps that nations should work on,” said Idechong.

According to Meg Caldwell, COS executive director, the report is an important tool for policymakers.

“This (report) represents a vast information resource about what is occurring in the individual countries,” she said.

Hundreds of scientists have already signed a consensus statement, ‘Ecosystems and people of the Pacific Ocean – Threats and opportunities for action’.

It warns that, left unchecked, the threats could have “devastating consequences for coastal economies, food supplies, public health and political stability”.

Source: The Gaea News

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