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Marine life conservation is generally involved with preserving marine ecosystems and the animals that depend on them. Experts believe that pollution and global warming are threatening the biodiversity of the world's oceans. Protecting marine animals can help to preserve one of the world's major food sources, fish and shellfish. In some areas, people rely primarily on fish and shellfish for food. Marine life conservation can involve reducing the use of plastics, reducing pollution, reducing energy consumption, and keeping beaches, rivers, lakes, and other natural areas free of garbage.
Several international laws and treaties exist with the purpose of ensuring marine life conservation. Dozens of nations have signed the 1966 Convention on Fishing and Conservation of Living Resources of the High Seas. This treaty is largely intended to protect marine life from over-fishing.
In the United States, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, passed in 1972, protects animals of the sea from hunting, capture or sale, whether domestically or internationally. The law forbids the import of any marine animals for sale. Animals under the protection of this law include whales, polar bears, dolphins, sea otters, and walruses.
Many experts believe that climate change could have a drastic and devastating effect on marine ecosystems. Warmer global temperatures generally mean warmer ocean temperatures, which could inhibit the survival of many marine species. Ocean ecosystems are typically very sensitive and could suffer greatly from even small changes. Marine life conservation experts typically urge the reduction of energy usage, to help curtail the global rise in temperatures that could harm marine life.
Pollution is also a threat to the animals of the ocean. Experts believe that large amounts of refuse can be found in the world's oceans. Many marine life conservation efforts go toward the prevention of littering. Beach-cleaning is also an important part of marine life conservation, since it can help to prevent further refuse from making its way out to sea. Attempts to conserve particular species of marine life can backfire and further damage weakened ecosystems, so most specialists in marine life conservation attempt to focus on preserving the environmental integrity of the oceans as a whole.
It is believed that human activities pose the biggest threat to marine life and marine ecosystems. These activities range from pollution to commercial fishing. Some believe that climate change has occurred as a result of human activities. Many believe that marine life conservation can stem from lifestyle changes made by people throughout the world, which can reduce the impact of human activities on marine ecosystems.