The world's oceans, once thought to contain inexhaustible resources, are under increasing threat. In recent years, scientific study after scientific study has pointed to the fact that human activities and fishing in particular have been putting extreme pressure on marine ecosystems to the point that profound ecosystem changes are being experienced in many parts of the world. The ecosystem approach is vital if we are to ensure the health of our oceans for future generations.
Executive summary: In November 2006, an international group of ecologists and economists, led by Professor Boris Worm of Dalhousie University, published a study in Science that brought the extent of this degradation into stark relief. Looking at marine biodiversity on a global scale, the study shows that loss of marine biodiversity is drastically reducing the ocean’s ability to produce seafood, resist diseases, filter pollutants and rebound from stresses such as over-fishing and climate change. The team’s projection that all commercial and seafood species are on the brink of collapse was shocking enough to make news headlines across the world.