The surface of the Atlantic ocean rounding off at the horizon.

A new review from the International Program on the State of the Ocean (IPSO) warns that our ocean’s health is worsening, fast. With multiple aspects affecting them resulting in severe adverse effects. They name three aspects in particular; Global warming making the oceans acidic, overfishing and general pollution.

IPSO is a charitable foundation, that together with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN’s) World Commission on Protected Areas is publishing a set of five papers based on workshops in 2011 and 2012.

They conclude that it is this cocktail of threats that together makes for a much more potent problem than any of the problems by themselves. They claim that the current trend is potentially a cause of mass extinctions. Previous natural mass extinctions in Earth’s history has involved warming seas, acidification, and low oxygen levels – all of which are on the rise today.

The ever-increasing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere result in acidification of the oceans which absorbs CO2. It hinders shellfish from reproduction, causing coral reefs to die off.

The oceans are being subjected to harmful fishing practices that destroy the ocean floor and also overfishing. Pollution and fertilizer runoff cause over-fertilization of the world’s oceans and seas. Contributing to toxic algal blooms.

They call for a halt of CO2 increases at a ceiling level of 450ppm. A higher level of CO2 will cause immense acidification by 2100. They also urge for international fishing enforcement and management to allow for sustainable fishing. And priority focus on the most harmful chemicals that are polluting oceans.