WWF’s Living Blue Planet Report on the health of the ocean finds that the marine vertebrate population has declined by 49 percent between 1970 and 2012. The report tracks 5,829 populations of 1,234 mammal, bird, reptile, and fish species through a marine living planet index. The evidence, analyzed by researchers at the Zoological Society of London, paints a troubling picture.
For generations, nature has provided for the residents of Malaysia’s islands and coasts. But growing demand for seafood throughout the region has left the seas nearly empty. As communities face the reality that fishing is no longer enough to support the economy, they are hoping tourism can create new opportunities.
Antonio Bustos’ family has been fishing Chile’s coastal waters for more than four generations. Artisanal fishers like him used to be able to earn a good living, but increased competition for dwindling fish stocks have made it harder to stay afloat. Some have decided to ignore the quotas that are meant to let fish populations rebound.
The ovulid sea snail boasts a remarkable ability to camouflage itself by taking on the appearance of its favorite food—corals. A new underwater survey by WWF and other scientists recently found at least 25 different species of these beautifully colored and patterned snails in an area of the Coral Triangle. The two-and-a-half-week survey was part of a scientific expedition to explore the underwater world of Tun Mustapha Park—a proposed marine protected area.
The Sunda Banda Seacape in eastern Indonesia includes a wide variety of communities and provides critical habitat for many marine species. WWF is working with the Indonesian Government to create a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), which will span thousands of square miles and help protect the ocean environment.
When done responsibly, fish farming—also known as aquaculture—presents a solution to meeting the increasing food demand of a growing global population. Farmed seafood already accounts for more than half of all the fish and shellfish we eat.