02/15/2008 - The ocean is vast, seemingly immutable.
But near and far, humans have taken a toll.
As close as New Jersey, pollution washes seaward with every rainstorm.
As remote as the broad expanse of sea east of the tip of South America, fishermen scoop up orange roughy from a mile below the surface using high-tech gear.
The result, an international team of researchers reports today in the journal Science, is that more than 40 percent of the world's oceans have been degraded.
Joshua S. Reichert, managing director of the Pew Environment Group, who was not involved with the study, said he, too, was surprised.
Perhaps as recently as 50 years ago, he said, there were many places in the oceans that people couldn't reach, much less harm.
"The prevailing view was that despite the destructive impact of fishing and other human activities, many areas of the world's oceans remained unaffected by people," Reichert said in an interview yesterday.
But now, he said, the extent of human impact is "threatening the balance of life in earth's last great bastion of nature."
Read the full article Study Finds Human Activity Has Taken a Toll on Oceans on The Philadelphia Inquirer Web site.