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World Conservation Union (IUCN) Scientists Draft Blueprint to Protect World Oceans

Under the leadership of the IUCN and with backing from the UN, a conservation plan for the unregulated high seas was drafted, for adoption by world governments.   Scientists are mapping out a plan for a network of marine parks to save the world's oceans from fish stock depletion and growing pollution amidst increasingly lawless acts on the seas. An IUCN report released on October 26, 2005 suggests that up to half of the world's coral reefs might be lost in the next 40 years unless urgent measures were taken to protect them against climate change and other threats.

The report, “Coral Reef Resilience and Resistance to Bleaching,” was presented at the First International Marine Protected Areas Congress (IMPAC1) in Geelong , Australia . About 700 delegates from 70 countries attended the conference.  While the world's first marine park was established almost 100 years ago, the hundreds that now exist around the globe were mostly set up in the past 15-20 years and are just the beginning. Australia established the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Marine Park in 1975 over an area of 87 million acres - bigger than Italy . Marine parks also exist in the United States , the Caribbean , Europe , Africa and elsewhere.

The World Conservation Union is the world’s largest conservation network, bringing together 82 states, 111 government agencies, more than 800 non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and some 10,000 scientists and experts from 181 countries in a unique worldwide partnership.  The Union ’s mission is to influence, encourage and assist human societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable. The World Conservation Union is a multicultural, multilingual organization with 1000 staff located in 62 countries. Its headquarters are in Gland , Switzerland .

Note: In a related story, NOAA's new Coral Reef Watch Satellite detects major coral breaching event expanding across the Caribbean, severe in PR and US VI.

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