A new study, released last week in Science Magazine, shows that human activities have impacted nearly all ocean ecosystems – a scary thought seeing as though there are many parts of the ocean that have never been seen by human eyes! The map, which compiles the impacts of 17 different human activities ranging from fishing to pollution, was released at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston. “Our results show that, when these and other individual impacts are summed up, the big picture looks much worse than I imagine most people expected,” noted lead author Ben Halpern (assistant research scientists at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis).
Marine wilderness areas are a topic of much discussion within the international wilderness community, highlighted especially at the 8th World Wilderness Congress by Bradley Barr, among others. This topic continues to be highly topical, and its inclusion in WILD 9 – the 9th World Wilderness Congress is now in planning. This latest study of human impact on oceans will surely be of relevance for new surveys of ocean wilderness, new policy for ocean wilderness and, with any hope, the way we humans continue to impact this great wild resource.