Just 13% of the World's Oceans are "Wilderness," Study Says

July 26, 2018

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Photo Credit: ©Belle Co

Only 13% of the ocean can still be classified as wilderness, according to a new study published in Current Biology.

“Those marine areas that can be considered ‘pristine’ are becoming increasingly rare, as fishing and shipping fleets expand their reach across almost all of the world’s oceans, and sediment runoff smothers many coastal areas” said lead author Kendall Jones of WCS in a statement.

The study found that most remaining wilderness is unprotected, leaving it vulnerable to being lost.

“Improvements in shipping technology mean that even the most remote wilderness areas may come under threat in the future, including once ice-covered places that are now accessible because of climate change,” said Jones.

The authors found that most wilderness is located in the Arctic and Antarctic or around remote Pacific island nations such as French Polynesia. Because human activities are concentrated near land, very little wilderness remains in coastal ecosystems such as coral reefs.

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