ROME, June 8 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Global warming, over-fishing and pollution are damaging the world’s oceans with people globally needing to do more to protect this valuable resource, according to organisers of World Oceans Day on Thursday.
The awareness-raising day comes as the United Nations holds the first ever Ocean Conference to address the increasing pressures faced by the earth’s waters that provide food, water and oxygen to the planet.
“The health of our oceans and seas requires us to put aside short-term national gain, to avoid long-term global catastrophe,” U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the opening of the week-long event in New York on Monday.
Below is a list of 12 facts about the world’s oceans:
* Oceans cover more 71 percent of the planet, host up to 80 percent of life on earth, and account for 96 percent of all water
* Oceans absorb about 25 percent of all human carbon emissions. When carbon dioxides dissolves in seawater, it forms carbonic acid, which leads to water acidification
* Rising sea temperatures are expected to slash catches of main fish species by 40 percent by 2050
* Oceans could contain more plastics than fish by 2050
* Almost 90 percent of fish stocks are overfished or fully exploited
* Overfishing costs more than $80 billion a year in lost revenues as dwindling supplies require extra effort to find and catch increasingly scarce fish
* 90 percent of the world’s 4.6 million fishing boats are in Asia and Africa. Most are small or medium vessels, with only 64,000 more than 24 metres in length
* Fish accounts for 6.7 percent of all protein consumed by people worldwide and is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, calcium, zinc and iron
* About 57 million people worldwide work in fishing or aquaculture
* China is the world’s main fish producer and exporter, while the European Union is the largest importer
* The global aquaculture industry has boomed in recent years, harvesting 74 million tonnes of fish worth an estimated $160 billion in 2014, up from about 20 tonnes in the early 1990s
* Alaska Pollock, a whitefish commonly used to make fish sticks and fish and chips, was the most caught fish globally in 2014, followed by Peruvian Anchovy. Sources: U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Bank, U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Ellen MacArthur Foundation. (Reporting by Umberto Bacchi @UmbertoBacchi, Editing by Belinda Goldsmith; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit http://news.trust.org)