The impact of our GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions have been somewhat masked over the last few decades as the oceans have absorbed around 30% of the excess CO2 in the atmosphere. An increase in CO2 in the ocean leads to warmer ocean surface temperatures and ocean acidification, which can dissolve the calcium carbonate that makes up mussel shells and coral skeletons, and interrupt processes like fish breathing.
Scientists estimate that 50-80% of the oxygen production on Earth comes from the ocean. The majority of this production is from oceanic plankton – drifting plants, algae, and some bacteria that can photosynthesize. The health of our oceans is absolutely vital to all life on this planet. Entire marine ecosystems in our oceans are collapsing and we must address the main causes: overfishing, ocean dead zones, unintended by-kill from large fishing nets & trawlers and plastic pollution from discarded fishing nets and single-use plastic.
Although the ocean covers 70% of the Earth’s surface and is home to 80% of all life on the planet, less than 3% of the ocean are marine protected areas. By establishing networks of fully protected areas throughout the ocean, from the polar oceans to tropical seas, the full spectrum of marine life can thrive, building the resilience needed to
ensure a vibrant and healthy ocean for the future.