Oceans are in deep trouble, says U.N.

Human exploitation of the oceans has outpaced conservation efforts, the United Nations said Friday. It warned that ocean degradation is “rapidly passing the point of no return.” The watery deep, home to more than 90 percent of living organisms, faces danger from pollution, litter, overfishing, shipping, and climate change. Populations of large fish have declined by as much as 90 percent over the last century. Fishers pulled some 94 million tons of fish from the ocean last year; in their place went about 3 billion pieces of litter. Water temperature is up, alkalinity is down, and don’t get us started on the coral reefs. The U.N. called for countries to initiate more protection, regardless of territorial boundaries; it also called for more research, as only 10 percent of the ocean has been explored. Meanwhile, a Canadian company is about to take the world’s first foray into sea-floor mining. Somewhere, Ariel is crying.