How Marine Protected Areas Help Fisheries and Ocean Ecosystems
The 123 million people who live near the U.S. coasts and the 3 million Americans who depend on the ocean for their livelihood are front-row witnesses to dire and unprecedented change. As a result of climate change, unusually warm waters are killing kelp along the West Coast as well as coral off of Hawaii, fueling toxic algae blooms in Florida and California, and threatening the nation’s $212 billion commercial and recreational fishing industries. Wastewater and agricultural runoff, along with plastic pollution, are also major dangers; in 2017, scientists measured the ocean’s largest dead zone ever—an area the size of New Jersey—in the Gulf of Mexico, and plastic pollution is so prevalent that it has been found in the most remote areas of the deep sea.
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