A ten-year census of the world’s oceans involving some 2,700 scientists, more than 540 expeditions and around 9,000 days at sea has concluded. The results reveal that the oceans hold far more forms of life than previously realized, with nearly 250,000 species now identified and up to 750,000 thought to be still undiscovered.
At the same time, scientists Boris Worm and Heike Lotze of Canada’s Dalhousie University discovered from their evaluation of historical records that marine species on average have declined by an astounding 90% since record-keeping began.
Senior Census scientist Ron O’Dor remarked that all marine life used by humans is in danger of extinction, even the new and as yet undiscovered species. Calling for a shift in human attitude that would include halting consumption of these valued creations, Dr. O’Dor said, “These species are running out, and we need a reversal of attitudes in the 21st Century. …If we leave them alone, they could come back.”
Drs. Worm, Lotze, O’Dor, all scientists and sponsors of this comprehensive study, we earnestly appreciate your efforts to account for the vast and treasured life in our oceans.
Let us join in showing respect for these fellow co-inhabitants, upon whose lives we also depend, for the Earth’s sustainable future. Speaking of the vast wonders of the seas during a May 2009 videoconference in Togo, Supreme Master Ching Hai emphasized the need for humanity’s gentler stewardship to safeguard irreplaceable marine ecosystems and ultimately, our planet.