News: International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has released a report titled “Ocean deoxygenation: Everyone’s problem”. It reports the scale and nature of the changes being driven by ocean deoxygenation
Ocean Deoxygenation: It is defined as the reduction in oxygen content of the ocean due to anthropogenic effects.
Key takeaways from the report:
- The levels of oxygen in the oceans fell by around 2% from 1960 to 2010.
- The deoxygenation of the oceans occurred due to climate change and other human activities such as the nutrient runoff from farm fertilizers into waterways (nutrient pollution).
Impact of Ocean deoxygenation:
- Reduction in the habitat available for pelagic, mesopelagic, and benthic organisms.
- Reduction in the abundance of fish population
- Expansion of the volume of anoxic zones (Waters with totally depleted oxygen levels) since 1960
- Alteration in the balance of marine life by favouring low-oxygen tolerant species (e.g. microbes, jellyfish and some squid)
Measures to be taken:
- Nutrient management: Reducing nutrient and carbon loads to coastal waters
- Reducing the threat of global warming: Reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions through commitments in four areas- policy, technology, finance and patterns of consumption
- Adaptation in the face of oxygen decline: This should be done through ecosystem-based management of fisheries, spatial planning enhance ecosystem resilience, actions that reduce local stress on ecosystems etc.
- It is an international organization working in the field of nature conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. It was established in 1948 and is headquartered in Gland, Switzerland.
- IUCN has an observer and consultative status at the United Nations.
- It is best known for compiling and publishing the IUCN Red List, which assesses the conservation status of species worldwide.