Marine life is increasingly threatened by diseases, in part because of climate change and pollution, according to research published in the journal Science. Pollution from chemicals like organochlorides can weaken marine species’ immune systems, and the long-term warming trend in the ocean, as well as other human disruptions of the marine environment, are exacerbating the spread of disease. In other ocean news, Al Gore yesterday announced new federal initiatives aimed at protecting America’s coastlines and ocean waters from pollution and other threats. Pres. Clinton has given the U.S. Coast Guard and other officials the authority to enforce environmental, customs, and immigration laws within 24 nautical miles of the U.S. coast, up from the current boundary of 12 miles. Gore is also urging the U.S. to join the U.N.’s 1994 Convention on the Law of the Sea, which sets international environmental standards for the world’s oceans.

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