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Posted Fri Apr 15 2011: from BBC:
Exploring the 'oceans crisis'
What marked this week's event - convened by the International Programme on the State of the Ocean - as something a bit different was the melange of expertise in the same room. Fisheries experts traded studies with people studying ocean acidification; climate modellers swapped data with ecologists; legal wonks formulated phrases alongside toxicologists. They debated, discussed, queried, swapped questions and answers. Pretty much everyone said they'd learned something new - and something a bit scary.... It's fairly well-known now, for example, that the impacts of climate change on coral reefs can be delayed by keeping the reef healthy - by preventing local pollution, keeping fish stocks high and blocking invasive species. So a policy to reduce climate impacts can mean curbing fishing or pollution, which might in turn mean changing farming practices to prevent fertiliser run-off. In places, filter-feeding fish are apparently living in sediments containing so many particles of plastic that it makes up half of each mouthful. Other pollutants such as endocrine-disrupting ("gender-bending") chemicals gather on the plastic surfaces - which obviously can be harmful to the fish. So a "healthy fisheries" policy might again involve regulating pollutants.... Josh Reichert, head of the Pew Environment Group, likening the current situation to... "... driving towards the edge of a cliff while taking copious notes along the way. "For years the science has gotten better, and the problem has become worse. Better science will enhance our understanding of the dilemma we face but will not resolve it - we depend on government to do that, and the challenge we face is getting government to act."
[Read more stories about: ocean warming, ocean acidification, overfishing, coral bleaching, faster than expected]

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