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Oceans are the largest ecosystems on Earth. Seventy-five per cent of all sea pollution is from land-based human activity. People abuse the coastal marine environment by destroying habitats, by over-fishing and pollution.

More than 37% of the worlds population lives within 100 km of a coast and this percentage is rising! Land prices are rising too, forcing change in economic activity and forcing out local fishing villagers.

World fish catches peaked in 1987 and are now falling. Why? Because modern fishing techniques suck up too many fish, large and small so there are not enough young fish left to breed.
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Foundation for Global Peace and the Environment, Japan

Coastal mangrove forests are major breeding grounds for many fish and crustaceans but they are being wiped out for housing and fish-farming. In Asia . home to 87% of the world. s fish farms . huge areas of mangrove swamps have disappeared and along with them, the fish nurseries! Fish farms are dangerous in themselves because diseases spread from the farmed fish and affedt the wild fish.

Coral reefs are like the rainforests of the sea, supporting many fish. But 60% of them are dying, mainly as a result of pollution from human activity. Dead coral reefs mean dead seas, no fish and fewer tourists who pay to visit the reefs!

Save the whales! This slogan made Greenpeace, an international environmental organisation, famous, and it still applies. Whales, dolphins and many big sea mammals have been hunted to the point of extinction. they need our protection.

Most countries use the sea as a sewer. For example, coastal cities in Africa dump hundreds of millions of litres of sewage and industrial waste into the sea a year. This will continue as they cannot afford sewage treatment plants. As sewage, fertilisers and other . nutrients. are poured into the seas, sea weeds and algae spread like a horror movie, using up all the oxygen that fish need to stay alive. In the past, the Soviets dumped nuclear waste in the shallow seas of the Arctic circle. As these began to leak, the marine life came under threat.

web site editor: webmaster@grida.no Last update: March 2000