A new report by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) found that marine vertebrate population declined almost by half (49%) between 1970 and 2012.

For the study, the WWF examined 5,829 populations of 1,234 mammal, bird, reptile and fish species. Researchers at the Zoological Society of London, analyzed the evidence and found the concerning data. Additionally to he decreasing number of marine vertebrate species, local and commercial populations of fished fish species have halved.

“These findings coincide with the growing decline of marine habitats, where the deforestation rate of mangroves exceeds even the loss of forests by 3-5 times; coral reefs could be lost across the globe by 2050; and almost one-third of all seagrasses have been lost,” according to the organization’s statement.

A dense school of brown striped snapper in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. Credit: Naturepl.com / David Fleetham / WWF

If nothing is done about climate change, humanity and wildlife will suffer severe consequences in the not so far future.

“Global climate is one of the major drivers causing the ocean to change more rapidly than at any other point in millions of years,” added the statement.

The oceans keep massive quantities of energy and heat, but as climate responds to rising carbon emissions, the exchange intensifies. The consequences may be extreme weather, which can produce changes in ocean currents, rise sea temperatures, and increase acid levels. All of which will ultimately worsen the negative impacts that already undersea creatures suffer.

“Our ocean needs a strong global climate deal and work is already underway as President Obama and leaders of the Arctic nations recently pledged to work together to boost strong action on climate change. But more needs to be done to prioritize ocean and coastal habitat health,” the researchers concluded.

Source: WWF