In a report released at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Hawaii on 5 September, it has stated that the effects of ocean warming are now more visible than ever and it is affecting humans in direct ways and the impacts are already being felt. “From effects on fish stocks and crop yields to more extreme weather events and increased risk from water-borne diseases, global warming is here for real,” says the report, ‘Explaining ocean warming: Causes, scale, effects and consequences.’
The report reviews the effects of ocean warming on species, ecosystems and on the benefits oceans provide to humans. It has been compiled by 80 scientists across 12 countries and highlights detectable scientific evidence of impacts on marine life, from microorganisms to mammals, which are likely to increase significantly even under a low-emissions scenario.
In a media statement, IUCN director general Inger Andersen said, “Ocean warming is one of this generation’s greatest hidden challenges—and one for which we are completely unprepared. The only way to preserve the rich diversity of marine life, and to safeguard the protection and resources the ocean provides us with, is to cut greenhouse gas emissions rapidly and substantially.”
The report states, “Ocean warming is already affecting ecosystems from polar to tropical regions, driving entire groups of species such as plankton, jellyfish, turtles and seabirds up to 10 degrees of latitude towards the poles, causing the loss of breeding grounds for turtles and seabirds, and affecting the breeding success of marine mammals.”
With fish habitats disappearing and fish species migrating to cooler waters, the tropical regions will face a major fall in fish catch.