On 26th July, in the current biology journal researchers reporting that it has completed the first systematic marine wilderness analysis around the world. They found it is discouraging and only 13% of the world ocean is classified as wilderness. The remaining marine wilderness is found and distributed in the Arctic, in the Antarctic, and around remote Pacific Island nations. There is almost no marine wilderness left in coastal regions.
Kendall Jones of the University of Queensland, Australia, and the Wildlife Conservation Society says that they were surprised by the remain marine wilderness. The ocean is covering over 70% of the planet, but they have managed to influence almost the entire vast ecosystem.
Rapid declines in the wilderness on land have well documented, but about the marine wilderness status its been less known. Wilderness areas are complex for marine biodiversity. Jones says pure wilderness areas hold extensive levels of biodiversity and epidemic species. Some of the places on Earth where more populations of apex predators are still found.
According to the new study ones and his colleagues used the most comprehensive global data available for 19 human stressors, this includes fertilizer, commercial shipping, and sediment runoff. These kinds of fishing in the ocean and their cumulative influence. They mapped marine wilderness systematically by identifying areas with little impact of 10% from 15 anthropogenic stressors. It is a low combined cumulative impact from these stressors.
To capture human differences, impact by ocean regions, the researchers repeated their study within each of 16 ocean realms. They found extensive variation in the human impacts degree. For example, more than 16 million square Km of wilderness remains in the warm indo-pacific that is 8.6 % of the ocean.
The study shows that less than 5 % of global marine wilderness is protected currently. Most of them are offshore ecosystems with few protected wilderness. This found in high-biodiversity areas such as coral reefs. Jones says that this means that the majority of marine wilderness could lose any time. Because of the improvements in technology that allows us to fish deep within further before. Thanks to the climate warming, some places were unsafe due to all year round ice cover, can now be fished. This finding highlighted the urgent requirement to combat the remaining marine wilderness, the researchers say this. These efforts require international environmental agreements to recognize the specific value of marine wilderness and focuses to target its retention.