The illegal trade in marine species is one of the major issues that needs to be under the spotlight at the UN Ocean Conference this week. That’s according to John Scanlon, head of the UN body that monitors implementation of an international agreement that helps ensure the survival of nearly 40,000 animal and plant species in the wild. Corals, sharks, dolphins and whales are among the marine species covered by the agreement, known as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES.
Julia Dean spoke to Secretary-General Scanlon, who is in Australia, and asked him about his hopes for the conference.
14 July 2016 – More than half of the world’s fragile coral reefs are under threat and most of our major fish stocks are now overexploited, according to the latest global assessments on the state of world’s high seas and large marine ecosystems launched today by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission.
The new study identified the increasing cumulative impacts of climate change and human activities on these systems for the deterioration of their health and decline of resource productivity.
“Sixty percent of the world’s coral reefs are currently threatened by local activities; 50 per cent of all fish stock in large marine ecosystems are overexploited; 64 of the world’s 66 large marine ecosystems have experienced ocean warming in the last decades,” are among the among the alarming statistics from the assessment and detailed in a statement from UNESCO.
It has been a bad year for coral. There has been unprecedented coral bleaching on the northern and central Great Barrier Reef, one of the world’s most iconic reefs and a world heritage site. Bleaching in the central Indian Ocean is also severe, in the Maldives, Sri Lanka and in the Lakshadweep islands of India, where up to 100 per cent of corals are bleached in some locations. Many will not survive. Continue reading