Researchers call for better ocean stewardship

May 16, 2014
This is fangtooth, Anoplogaster cornuta, one of numerous deep-sea creatures. Credit: Danté Fenolio, Ph.D. Manager of Conservation and Research San Antonio Zoo

It has been said that we know more about the surface of the moon than we do about our own planet's oceans. That especially applies to the deepest parts of our oceans – depths that are 200 meters or deeper.

Researchers from organizations around the world who specialize in studying and exploring the deepest regions of our oceans have come together to pen a cautionary tale that urges we take a critical look at how we're treating our seas.

"We need to consider the common heritage of mankind - when do we have the right to take something that will basically never be replaced or take millions of years," said Tracey Sutton, Ph.D., Associate Professor at Nova Southeastern University's (NSU) Oceanographic Center.

Sutton, along with scientists and professors from California to Germany to the United Kingdom have written a paper published by Science magazine that calls for increased stewardship when it comes to our oceans. The paper can be found online.

The paper addresses the many ways the oceans are currently being exploited (i.e. mining, over-fishing, etc.) and says that we have to "make smart decisions now about the future of the deep ." The goal is to reach a "happy balance" that weighs benefits of use against both direct and indirect costs of extraction, including damage to sensitive and yet unknown ecosystems.

"There's so much more we need to learn about these deep, mysterious places on our planet and our fear is some ecosystems and marine species will be eradicated before we even know they existed," said Sutton. "The is already experiencing impacts from fishing, oil and gas development and waste disposal, and we are trying to get people to pause and see if there are better ways to do things before we negatively impact our seas."

Explore further: First animals oxygenated the ocean, research suggests

Related Stories

New approach to managing marine ecosystems

April 28, 2014

Ways to manage natural resources have been under development for decades, driven by an increasing need to understand the effect of man-made impacts on ecosystems. Often, it has been assumed that management could be based ...

Recommended for you

Ice sheets may be more resilient than thought

September 3, 2015

Sea level rise poses one of the biggest threats to human systems in a globally warming world, potentially causing trillions of dollars' worth of damages to flooded cities around the world. As surface temperatures rise, ice ...

Clues from ancient Maya reveal lasting impact on environment

September 3, 2015

Evidence from the tropical lowlands of Central America reveals how Maya activity more than 2,000 years ago not only contributed to the decline of their environment but continues to influence today's environmental conditions, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.