We’ve lost half of all marine life in the past 40 years

In what Discovery calls “one of the most extensive surveys of marine life ever compiled,” the World Wildlife Fund reported Tuesday that since 1970 we have lost nearly half of all marine life. Some species have declined by nearly 75%, bringing them dangerously close to extinction.

“Populations of fish species utilized by humans have fallen by half,” the report begins, “with some of the most important species experiencing even greater declines. Around one in four species of sharks, rays and skates is now threatened with extinction, due primarily to overfishing.”

The report details the extensive loss of reef-building corals and mangrove cover. The latter was documented by analysis of satellite data by researchers at the World Resource Forum, and it represents a serious threat to coastal ecosystems.

“Humanity is collectively mismanaging the ocean to the brink of collapse,” wrote Marco Lamberti, the Director General of WWF International. “Considering the ocean’s vital role in our economies and its essential contribution to food security – particularly for poor, coastal communities – that’s simply unacceptable.”

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