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Researchers identify top areas of the oceans to protect

September 6, 2011

The oceans are in trouble. Some scientists say that if the current pace of overfishing and global warming trends continue, the oceans are headed towards a mass extinction. But there is good news. If marine habitats in 9 specific locations are set aside and preserved, it could protect 84 percent of all marine mammals.

So there’s the silver lining. What’s the downside? All 9 areas are heavily influenced by humans. The areas are located off the coasts of Baja California in Mexico, eastern Canada, Peru, Argentina, northwestern Africa, South Africa, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. These are apparently some of the most populated areas on earth, because the waters in these areas have high numbers of marine mammals living together.

See how pretty? Let's keep it this way.

These 9 areas make up only 4 percent of the oceans, but are home to 108 of the 129 known marine species. There are only 129 known marine species, isn’t that nuts? Anyway. There are 20 areas on earth, where all the species overlap. Knowing where these species live in the ocean can make it easier to decide how to protect these areas – although getting major protection passed won’t be easy.

The areas researchers pinpointed are all negatively effected by human pollution and shipping routes. Climate change and overfishing weren’t included as human factors.

Protecting these areas is critical to the health of the oceans. Now that researchers have let us know where to start, we should all work together to keep these areas safe for our beautiful marine friends.

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