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Homechevron_rightSciencechevron_right10% of marine life is...

10% of marine life is heading towards extinction: experts

10% of marine life is heading towards extinction: experts

Geneva: Nearly 10% of the underwater plants and animals are being threatened with extinction due to human activity.

The latest Red List of Threatened Species showed that over 1,550 of some 17,903 marine plants and animals assessed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature are at risk of extinction, reported Reuters. Craig Hilton-Taylor, head of the IUCN Red List, said the latest data shows that we are having quite a devastating impact on marine species.

Loss of the main food source and seagrass due to oil and gas exploration in the Pacific is the main reason for the population decline.

Hilton-Taylor further said people cannot really see what is going on underwater. "By assessing the status of the species it gives us a real indicator of what is really happening there, and it's not good news." He added that the real number of marine species facing extinction is likely much higher than the available data shows. This is because many of the species analysed are widespread fish species.

One of the notable species that deserve immediate attention is the dugong. The population of the plump, grey herbivorous mammal has now declined to fewer than 250 adults in east Africa, and fewer than 900 in the French territory of New Caledonia.

Abalone, a type of mollusc sold as a luxury seafood item, is also at risk. The report shows that around 44% of the population is at risk of extinction. Severe and frequent marine heatwaves are killing their food source and making them sick. A Caribbean species called pillar coral was earlier categorised as critically endangered. It is now vulnerable after its population declined by over 80% due to bleaching and disease.

The report coincides with a U.N. summit on nature in Montreal. At the summit, U.N. chief Antonio Guterres urged countries to end the "orgy of destruction" and pass a deal to halt and reverse habitat loss.

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