Report highlights major ocean risk

A report released in Honolulu during the World Conservation Congress says that ocean warming already affecting people worldwide will have significantly greater impacts in the future.

The report was prepared by the International Union for Conservation of Nature describes the phenomenon as “one of the greatest hidden challenges of our generation.” Eighty scientists from 12 nations compiled the report.

According to his scientific review, fundamental changes to the ocean’s chemistry, physics and the wealth of life it supports are already evident with human food security and health under threat along with dangers from more extreme weather events and reduced crop yields.

The report describes the potential impacts these changes may have on businesses, society and ecosystems around the globe. The report also identifies other changes to ocean health including acidification and deoxygenation that will impact every level of marine life from the smallest plankton to mammals.

The impacts include coastal communities at greater risk of inundation from storm surges, more intense tropical storms and rising sea levels, and compromised food security from shifting fish populations and depleted fish stocks.

According to the report the impacts would also include dangers to human health due to the spread of viruses, diseases and pathogens in the warmer ocean and passed to humans directly or through the food chain. These include the bacteria causing cholera and the neurological disease ciguatera.