Ocean resources conservation aims to protect and restore threatened marine life, ecosystems, and habitats. Efforts employed by conservation agencies include promoting sustainable fishing, preserving coastal and wetland habitats, and enacting laws to regulate and conserve valuable resources. Ocean resources conservation might enhance recreational opportunities, along with sustaining economies worldwide that depend on the sea for food.
Scientists who study ocean resources conservation use formulas to determine the population of various species of fish, a source of protein vital in some countries. The researchers look at how fish migrate and the effects of global warming on marine environments. Illegal fishing in certain oceans also factors into studies on threatened or endangered species. A species might be listed as threatened or endangered when it cannot reproduce fast enough to meet consumer demand.
Ocean resources conservation might address mining activities on the sea floor. Salt, iron, copper, manganese, diamonds, and other minerals can be found in deep water areas, which are usually dredged. These activities might destroy ecosystems by disturbing sediment on the ocean floor. When the silt is disrupted, it could kill plankton and spread metallic debris into the water.
Conservation efforts also address the loss of habitat in coastal regions. These areas might be harmed by sewage dumped into the water, which produces too many nutrients, disrupting the food chain by altering oxygen levels. Increased nutrient levels can cause excess algae production, which in turn could kill off marine life.
Construction activities also might destroy nesting and reproduction areas for birds and other marine species. Ocean resources conservation studies also analyze tourism and recreational impacts to coastal communities, along with the destruction of mangrove trees from natural disasters. Conservation groups commonly create long-term plans to restore these damaged areas.
A growing concern of marine conservation efforts centers on the amount of plastic and other trash discarded into oceans. These waste products disrupt the ecosystem and trap sea life. Ocean resource conservation might work to decrease the amount of trash dumped from boats and barges or left on the shore, where it can wash out to sea.
Ocean resources fall into three categories composed of energy, minerals, and living organisms. The practice of ocean resources conservation relies on international support to address vast expanses of sea. International and regional laws typically govern mining, oil drilling, and fishing activities.