Only a hundred years or so ago, it would have seemed inconceivable that anything we did could significantly affect the vast resources of the oceans or result in large-scale alterations and damage to marine ecosystems. We have already seen in Chapter 9 that this is no longer true for fishery resources. Modern technology has resulted in a huge increase in our ability to catch and store edible marine species. Many or most important fishery stocks are now being exploited at levels considered to be at or over the maximum sustainable level. In this chapter, two other major ways in which human activity is affecting our oceans will be discussed. These are the effects of adding materials to the sea (pollution) and indirect effects on the oceans through human-induced changes in the world's atmosphere (e.g. the greenhouse effect).
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