The State of the World’s Oceans

UConn marine sciences professor Ann Bucklin and emeritus professor Peter Auster were among 600 marine experts from many countries who participated in the recent United Nation’s World Ocean Assessment (WOA), a global inventory of the state of the marine environment and problems threatening to degrade the oceans.  This just-released international study marks the first comprehensive analysis on the ways humans benefit from and affect the world’s oceans, which cover more than 70 percent of our planet.

Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon, in the introduction of the WOA, stated that based on the findings of the authors “… urgent action on a global scale is needed to protect the world’s oceans from the many pressures they face.”  For the United Nations, this first WOA highlights the importance of better managing the 70% of the ocean that is beyond national jurisdiction, known as the high seas.  Most important, the WOA will form the scientific foundation for negotiations to begin in March to modify the Convention on Law of the Sea.  The results will govern future of human uses of one-half of our planet.