The Death of the Oceans
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The Death of the Oceans

2010, Science  -   48 Comments
Ratings: 8.13/10 from 53 users.

The Death of the OceansOne gets the feeling that the decision to frame the title The Death of the Oceans? as a question may have been taken at the last minute in order to discourage immediate despair on the part of the viewer.

If the programme itself communicated anything, however, it's that dead oceans are a much stronger possibility than that question mark implies.

The threat, in fact, appears to be immediate and all but irreversible. One scientist said: We risk losing species before we've even been introduced to them. The living ocean is very fragile, said another. Don't for a minute believe that we can't screw it up much worse than it is today.

With the sound turned down, this looked like another lush and lavish documentary about sea creatures fronted by David Attenborough, complete with weird-looking squid and humpback whales glinting in the sun.

But the soundtrack was, for the most part, a litany of stark warnings and dire statistics: our seas fished clean by 2050; all coral poised to die from ocean acidification unless the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is drastically reduced; all whale conversations eventually drowned out by our increasingly noisy shipping.

Before we can take the most basic steps to save our oceans, we need something we've never come close to having: a baseline survey of what's in the sea already. That's where the diligent folks of the Census of Marine Life come in.

They're painstakingly measuring every aspect of ocean life, although it's hard to watch them do it in the present circumstances without wishing they'd do it a bit faster. Dr Julian Caley and his team spend months examining the creatures in one cubic foot of Australian coral reef.

The worm specialist alone has found 22 new species. The fish parasite guy logs, on average, one new species a day; 6,000 previously unknown species have been discovered across the whole census so far.

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48 Comments / User Reviews

  1. pacificoceanwoman

    soooo .... no mention of fukushima-daichi?

  2. Cheryl Anne

    "Before we can take the most basic steps to save our oceans, we need something we've never come close to having: a baseline survey of what's in the sea already..."

    Actually - that's not true. We can take all sorts of steps before we know what's in the sea already. We can STOP commercial fishing for a decade. We can STOP dumping crap in the ocean, by, for example, NOT fertilizing our ridiculous lawns with crap that ends up in the ocean. We can STOP dumping plastic into the ocean, and last, but not least, we can STOP dumping INDUSTRIAL WASTE into the ocean.

    Gee - problem solved and no need for a stupid SURVEY at all. Seriously, people.

    1. Lilliah

      Precisely Cheryl!!

  3. Bob

    This is so sad

  4. Carol

    Chris Holt, you are exactly right! Mother Nature will take back the planet. Hopefully she takes all the stupid idiots saying the oceans are fine. The oceans are LIFE, without a good eco system we ALL die. If we don't start now then it will happen, THE END

  5. Barbara

    "manage current fish stocks, before they disappear" STOCKS, commodities, not populations, of course they are already owned. Why would I think anything else?

  6. lan ban

    its not humans killing our planet the greedy corporations are killing humans and animals population reduction propaganda made by the chosen people they want it all

    1. MsNorthlight

      Uhmm sorry to burst your bubble but the greedy corporations are neither, unlike recent popular belief, persons, nor a different species. They are indeed created and ruled by humans.

  7. NoWorldGovernmant

    Please....! All those in favor for population reduction, please lead the way and depart gracefully now!

    1. MsNorthlight

      Sorry I don't understand what your point is......that the documentary is wrong or that there is nothing we can do about it?

      If it is the latter I would tend to agree but no need for volunteers, it will soon sort itself out.

  8. Bungaroosh

    Thanks for completely messing up my planet, you useless dicks.

  9. bumpercrop

    The graphics showing the shipping lanes moving over the habitat of the whales, dolphins, seals, and aquatic life, and the resulting constant noise pollution's effect on sea life's sonar hearing capacity was unknown to me.
    Overpopulation of our human species, and our addiction to constant material gratification is destroying our planet's health.

  10. bumpercrop

    Overpopulation of the human species is at the root of most if not all of our problems. Do pregnant women realize what our planet will be like in the near future? Or is it all just about plastic diapers and creating mini-size
    reproductions of the ever special self? Why don't the religious instruct people to use contraception?

  11. Shea Shattuck-Faegre

    well, that is too bad. I was really hoping, judging by the cover, that this was going to be a documentary about vampire remains discovered on the ocean floor.

  12. Larrylansing

    Ah it is good to be human and at the top of the food chain...reminds me of the Gary Larsen cartoon with a deer holding a smoking shotgun in someones living room...his deer buddy standing at the door asks him why he shot all those people? The deer with the gun replied that he was just thinning the herd.

    Our herd won't be thinned much until we exhaust all the resources we can possibly consume. Good luck other species!

  13. SkAMWiSE

    555 wats your beef with the music?

  14. Monk

    whats that at 45 seconds

  15. David Foster

    WOW! They really come out of the woodwork for this sort of documentary!

  16. the555hit

    who makes the decisions on adding the music to these docs and are they really so stupid that they imagine we are so stupid as to need all their aural schlock to make their content palatable. somebody tell them --- it's ok, we can get our poor little proley heads around your (dumbed down) content without you having to coat it in some kind of musical fkkn chocolate and raspberry gateux and insult our poor little intelligence.. GET A FKKN GRIP SOMEONE??

  17. Sabin Russell

    our population will be reduced...
    just wait for some awesome earthquakes to hit major cities....
    major cities like atlanta which house super diseases....
    plauges will reduce us...
    i hope it will be in time before we nuke ourselves and destroy the lands....

    1. Yi Wen Qian

      Eh, this seems a good idea right now, less humans please. If only we don't breed like rabbits.

    2. vanisl642

      the planet is perfectly capable of carrying a population well over 10 billion its just poorly managed. dont blame babys. but a mandatory psychology test for people wanting to have babys wouldn't be a bad thing.

    3. MsNorthlight

      How about a mandatory psychology test for politicians ? Seems more warranted.

    4. apophisthedestroyer

      We love the old in out.

  18. FreeYourMind!

    oh my god. This narrator guy is freakin' annoying... always twitching around and blinking eyes. I know you can be demonstrative while speaking but there's a limit! Everything he says is sooooo dramatic. All I could hear towards the end was his voice going na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na-na.
    Anyways, apart from that, I find this documentary was still nice to watch although it's very sad.

    1. Matthew Catterall

      It's David Attenborough! Show some respect to the greatest documentary narrator of all time you mere mortal!! :P

  19. CamelToeFan

    @Waldo thanks for what you did ans said. I had a thought that the average IQ of those commenting was very low. Don't you people see we can't continue to do business as usual. Stick your head in the sand and you won't see anything. I suppose as long as Oprah and American Idol are on and I can get a 20 pack on McNuggets and some 36% beef tacos from Taco Bell I don't care. NOT

  20. J

    How about that Texas-sized island of plastic/trash that is floating around in the South Pacific?

  21. Hambone Littletail

    "Live in Hope?" The time to do something was yesterday... Can you say "Sixth Extinction," class? Just one more dreary example of why we need to reduce the population of this planet by 95 percent, the sooner, the better. Until then, you can kiss the oceans, and the planet, good-bye.

    1. Chris Holt

      You don't have to worry. Mother earth will reduce the population by 95%+ quite quickly when the phytoplankton in the oceans die due to increased carbon, heat and acidification...they produce 80% of the world's oxygen. It won't happen gradually over centuries either but will hit the tipping point in the next few decades and the earth will get its time to rebuild with far fewer air breathing creatures....which are all of them. I hope I am wrong. Where are the leaders?

  22. boris

    i meant some people, so many people, not all though, but too much none the less!

  23. boris

    it is sad that people who watch all these documentaries on this site are so polluted, conservative, blind and closed-minded -that is the REAL tragedy, not the ocean!!!

  24. david the bear

    @ waldo. fair enough! either way we are all directly responsible for the pollution of our planet in one form or another, it cant go on forever,ultimately the death of the human race will be our own doing how stupid are we as a race???!!

  25. berserker

    maybe John Adams should talk to Will STeger as I did several years ago on his return from CAnada where he traveled to visit Indigenous peoples to see how they view todays climate. Now that is only their view from their vantage point, but they see a definite warming. in any case, it is humanities dominion that created the multitude of problems, and dominion which makes them more and more complex. Yet it is not in dominion where they can be remedied of course, but only in alliance with natures your battle you can only win by NOT feeding the sources that rule us and to teach others to do the same. quit playing and quit feeding them while they dissolve, but that also means you dismantle all the organizations that have brought us (led us) to this point... govs, religions and the infinite based corporations and / or economies of the world. I watched DAn Nocera of MIT invent(and open source) a simple way to split hydrogen from oxygen... a sure fire way to decentralize power that should be embraced by the people of the world. we'll see.

  26. John Adams

    @ Waldo There is no ice missing from the Arctic - it comes and goes and has done so for millions of years. The Polar bears are flourishing in the North Pole and there has been NO global warming. Actually, there has been a slight decrease global temperatures - caused, I’m sure these criminals will argue, by global warming! These liars have no limits - for them “War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery and Ignorance is Strength”, and the young, “let’s get the show off the road” crowd gleefully swallow their nonsense with the rest of the left-wing poison they are fed by the media and in their ‘schools’ and ‘universities’!

    However, and this is the most important point, even if there is/has been global warming there is absolutely NO indication that it is due to CO2 emissions caused by human activity, which, compared to the emissions from animals, volcanoes and the sea itself, is infinitesimally small. Far more plausible explanations concern solar activity. I suggest you follow the arguments of Lord Monckton - these are very detailed. The global warming scam is entirely created by the NWO crowd who have a communist society lined up for humanity and the pathetic left-wing useful idiots (whose hearts are, I am sure, in the right place). I don’t see that the right has to do with it. Right? What right? There is practically no right left in this world today! (I assume you do not consider the USA republicans, or UK Tories etc. as on the ‘right’ - they are one and all indebted up to their eyeballs the International banks and as such there is no differences between the ruling left and right at all - two wings of the same vulture).

    As I said in my previous comment, of course we all are concerned for our planet and the rape of its resources, but I for one will not be side-tracked into non-issues. Remember the words of Thoreau: “There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root”. It is in the interest of the ruling mob to get the kids’ desire to ‘fight the good fight’ into hacking off branches. Our fight is one and one only - against the multi-cultural communist utopia planned for humanity by the criminals ruling the world’s financial systems

    1. Rocky Racoon

      the "criminals ruling the world's financial system" are capitalists. How can you turn that into a communist plot to rule the world?

    2. bumpercrop

      get a grip! Why is the right-wing conservative religious crowd always so angry and hostile? Calling liberals pathetic i*iots only proves

      the same alpha-male rape mentality that is destroying our planet.

    3. Nick

      Do you have children? What kind of home will they and their children inherit if you are wrong in your assertions? Wouldn't it be better for man to limit his impact on the environment and let the planet's geological/biological/atmospheric ebb and flow continue uninfluenced by man's activities?

  27. Waldo

    @ David the bear

    You don't do much for the environment either I bet, bet your tasty as well. Should we have a go at you mate? Human blubber makes great candles.

    @ John Adams

    Please tell me you do not deny global warming is happening. I mean I agree that Gore and his ridiculus program of buying carbon credits is a sham, but you have to be more specific. Just saying "the global warming crowd" makes you sound like a fox news junky. Global warming is very real and had caused these odd snow storms we just had in the east. It has warmed the Atlantic ocean by two degrees which is huge biologically and metereologically (however you spell that). It has killed one quarter of the very important phytoplankton in the Atlantic as well, these organism absorbed tons of carbon dioxide from the environment. Now they are one quarter gone and this will continue, which will speed the global warming process. Those that deny global warming ignore the hundreds and hundreds of square miles, in fact thousands of square miles of ice missing in the Artic. Don't be one of these people, and don't buy all you hear about the so called lefty organizations as most of it comes from the righty organizations which are far worse in my opinion.

    @ See right through it

    Thanks for sharing that with us mate. I had no idea they used dolphins for target practice or dumped raw sewage into the sea, I bet this program doesn't know this either. Attenborough is a good guy that does all he can to change things for the better. Keep fighting the good fight man, pay no attention to the right wing denial groups.

  28. see right through it

    lying through the truth. no mention of military mutilation of the sea. Dolphins are target practice and whales swim through sewage dumped by the navy. I was on the U.S.S. Saipan, a city all its own complete with the destruction it creates. Of course animals are going to have ear damage when huge explosions are happening in their home, no matter how far from their living room. This same ships are the reason humans can continue industrial fish hunting. The real problem lies on the other side of their praise for technology. The medium is the message?!

  29. John Adams

    Obviously we all want to protect our environment but the vitally important quest to do so has been hi-jacked by criminal organisations like the global warming crowd, the UN and their masters running the NWO. In the end they will cause even more harm as they get their useful idiots in GreenPeace and other lefty organisations to run around like headless chickens as they ‘save the planet’.

    As Thoreau said: “There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root”

    1. ann2marie

      It is ironic that such a closed mind would have the audacity to quote Thoreau, a man who loved the environment and saw how intwined it's existence is to our own.I believe he would be disgusted by your use of his words to defend your ignorant position. I am guessing you have no training in science John Adams, only a disdain for it while you use and depend on it's discoveries. The "idiots" you refer to, does that include the thousands of the planet's best minds that have ALL unanimously agreed, based on their own research and expertise, that the climate is indeed changing? Tell me, do you live in some dream world where the resources of the planet are endless and they are unaffected by the abusive activities of humans? Believe that at your peril Mr. Clueless and while the rest of us are working to solve this planets biggest threat as you sit idle barking that "nothing is happening" those of us who know the threat is real would like you to, "GET THE HELL OUT OF THE WAY!"

  30. david the bear

    i like fish fingers!!!! whales dont contribute much to the planet they dont even taste good i say let the japs make more blubber candles.

    1. cmak25

      That is just awful. ignorant, careless and racist in 3 lines> great job.

  31. opinin


    you sound as if it is easy to do what you say, there are too many people dependent on sea. I remember one document in particular where large ships are equipped with high-tech equipment and then are sent on sea, for weeks. This way they push the prizes, and quality, of sea products down.

    in my opinion we are not prepared to pay for the real prices, environmental compensation included. but we will pay it eventually, it is like a dept and it is growing, the executors will not be picky...

  32. nadav

    cant watch it. its too sad.

  33. phill

    Lets kill lots of Animals in the name of science.
    If we want to really save our oceans all we need to do is leave them alone, stop polluting them and taking all the fish.
    Use but not abuse....

  34. Waldo

    A wonderful documentay explaining the environmental crisis our oceans are facing right now. Doesn't spend a lot of time explaining the lifes or habits of ocean life, more about the work of biologists to try and save the diversity and complexity of the ocean environments. Goes into detail about commercial fishing practices, experiments used to acertain the impact of commercial fishing and pollution, emphasis on the fact that while we can not return to the way things were it is still not too late to do better. David Attenborough hosts, been awhile since I had seen him. Gets a little redundant at times but still a good watch if only for the amazzing under water footage. Not to mention the fact that the oceans are crucial to life as we know it and we must find a pratical way to stop the greed and access of commercial practices.