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Scientists urge world leaders to respond cooperatively to Pacific Ocean threats
Date:5/12/2009

More than 400 leading scientists from nearly two-dozen countries have signed a consensus statement on the major threats facing the Pacific Ocean. The threats identified as the most serious and pervasive include overfishing, pollution, habitat destruction and climate change.

"This is first time the scientific community has come together in a single voice to express urgency over the environmental crisis facing the Pacific Ocean," said Meg Caldwell, executive director of the Center for Ocean Solutions, who will present the statement on Wednesday, May 13, at 6:30 a.m. U.S. Eastern Time to government officials gathered at the World Ocean Conference in Manado, Indonesia. "The scientific community urges governments to respond now, cooperatively, to these threats before their impacts accelerate beyond our ability to respond."

The consensus statement, titled "Ecosystems and People of the Pacific Ocean: Threats and Opportunities for Action," emerged from a scientific workshop in Honolulu hosted by the Center for Ocean Solutions in collaboration with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Ocean Conservancy. The workshop was part of a broader effort by the three organizations to challenge countries throughout the Pacific region to improve the health of marine ecosystems by 2020.

In the consensus statement, the scientists warn that if left unchecked, the cumulative impacts of overfishing, pollution and habitat destruction--exacerbated by climate change--could have devastating consequences for coastal economies, food supplies, public health and political stability. These threats affect all members of the Pacific Ocean community, said Stephen Palumbi, director of Stanford University's Hopkins Marine Station and one of the principal organizers of the consensus statement. "Remarkable similarity exists between the major problems experienced in poor and rich countries alike, in populous nations and on small
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Contact: Mark Shwartz
mshwartz@stanford.edu
650-723-9296
Stanford University
Source:Eurekalert

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