The climate emergency has revealed yet another serious environmental problem, the decrease in oxygen in the oceans which is happening at an unprecedented rate. There are now “dead zones” and hundreds more areas showing oxygen dangerously depleted.
Large fish species are particularly at risk, with many ecosystems in danger of collapse. Dead zones have quadrupled in extent over the 50 years, and there are also at least 700 areas where oxygen is at dangerously low levels, up from only 45 in the 1960s.
These findings were presented by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature at the UN climate conference in Madrid. Protecting marine life could help the oceans to function better, soaking up more carbon and providing barriers against sea level rises and storm surges, in the form of coral reefs and mangrove swamps.