Oceans can be restored to former glory within 30 years
April 2, 2020 - The recent recovery of whales, seals and other marine species have allowed scientists to formulate a plan showing how the glory of the world’s oceans could be restored within a generation.
Humpback whales migrating from Antarctica to eastern Australia have been increasing by about 10 per cent each year, from a few hundred in 1968 to more than 40,000, benefiting from the ban on commercial whaling in 1986.
Northern elephant seals were hunted almost to extinction by 1880, when only 20 breeders remained. However, due to strong protection there are now more than 200,000.
The number of southern sea otters in Canada has grown from about 50 in 1911 to several thousand.
Scientists from 16 universities around the world say there is now the knowledge to create an ocean renaissance for wildlife by 2050 and with it bolster the services that the world’s people rely on, from food to coastal protection to climate stability.
The measures needed, including protecting large swathes of ocean, sustainable fishing and pollution controls, would cost $10-20bn a year, but would bring benefits 10 times as high.
Climate change, and the challenges of scaling up existing conservation efforts, are the big hurdles, they say.
The researchers caution that the window for action is now very narrow.
The study has been published in the journal Nature.