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Major Threats to Oceans

Major Threats to Oceans

Oceans are important for life on Earth to live. They protect more than 70% of the planet's surface, control the atmosphere, and provide the oxygen we need to live.

More than two-thirds of our world is covered by oceans, which provide us with food, water, and other resources. However, this amazing underwater world is facing significant threats that are impacting marine life around the world.

Global warming is altering ocean chemistry and many oceanic processes, posing a challenge to many marine organisms unable to adapt to higher temperatures.

In many parts of the world, overfishing is a serious issue. To protect the ocean's biodiversity, conservationists promote the development of large marine reserves.


Acidification, like warming, is caused by carbon dioxide, which dissolves in the oceans and forms carbonic acid. The lower the pH, the more difficult it is for marine calcifying species to form shells, undermining their reproductive process.

The ocean environment may soon be fit only for jellyfish due to the combined effects of acidification, warming, habitat loss, coastal pollution, and overfishing.


The rate of warming in the oceans may not seem alarming the increase in temperature over the last century is calculated to be around 0.1 degree Celsius - but it's enough to destroy the algae that hold corals alive, transfer organisms to new areas, and raise sea levels.

The consequences of climate change will continue to play out for a century even though we avoided pouring more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

The devastation of the environment

Although marine environments, especially coral reefs, are under threat from coastal pollution, there are other ways we are actively destroying the ecosystems that marine plants and animals need to survive. Deep-sea trawling, for example, has been used to scrape whole habitats off seamounts, or underwater mountain ranges, for shrimp processing.

Pollution along the coast

Industrial agriculture is dumping reactive nitrogen and phosphorous into the oceans via any river on the planet, resulting in "ocean dead zones."

Overfishing is a problem in the fishing industry.

Our seas have been steadily drained of fish. We caught as many as we could with small boats and fishing rods close to the shore. Then we went a step further and fished for pelagic fish like herring and tuna. Then we went deeper, catching animals like the orange roughly, which can live up to 150 years and doesn't breed until it's 20.

In general, it's not a good idea to consume foods that are older than you: we should eat food that is lower on the food chain and can replicate easily. The oceans are like a deep freezer stuffed with fish that we've almost depleted.

Changes in the climate

Climate change is, without a doubt, the most dangerous to ocean health. It raises ocean temperatures, promotes acidification, and reduces dissolved oxygen levels, making it more difficult to breathe in them. Consider how a fish in a tank would do if the temperature were raised, acid was poured in, and the oxygen bubbler was removed.

Pollution caused by plastics

In the oceans, there are more than five trillion bits of plastic waste. Furthermore, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is expanding. We remove every pound of tuna from the ocean, replacing it with two pounds of plastic. There is an immediate need for bold interventions to reduce plastic waste.

Pipelines and Oil Drilling

Just 10% of marine oil pollution is caused by releases, with the majority coming mostly from shipping and oil drilling. The reliance on oil is causing the death of fish, mammals, and seabirds and whole damaging habitats.

Treasure buried

Valuable natural resources are waiting to be discovered deep under the waves. Manganese nodules, for example, are seafloor rocks made up of iron and manganese hydroxide. Industrial metal alloys, especially stainless steel, contain manganese. Manganese is estimated to be present in the oceans more than 7 billion tones, according to experts.

Many countries have already staked claims on the seafloor, indicating that they plan to start mining operations as soon as the process is legal and profitable.

Other precious metals such as cobalt, nickel, thallium, and rare earth elements have also been discovered below ground, ready for extraction. Last year, scientists found Casper, the largest octopus, living near these nodules. Mining activities may have a significant impact on these fragile habitats.


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