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The decline since 1996 has largely been in fish caught by industrial fleets and to a lesser extent a cut in the number of unwanted fish discarded at sea.

"The fact that we catch far more than we thought is, if you like, a more positive thing," he said.

Without swift, national action to protect the ocean's vast diversity of life from acidifying waters corals, shellfish, salmon and a whole host of beautiful creatures will be lost.

We need your help to ask President Barack Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency to get working on a bold plan to curb ocean acidification.

But now seabirds seabird abundance has dropped 69.7% in only 60 years, according to a recent paper in PLOS ONE.

Edd Hammill with Utah State University and co-author of the paper, noted: "What we should take away from this is that something is serious amiss in the oceans." Ben Lascelles, with Birdlife International, found the research alarming because the decline appeared practically indiscriminate, hitting a "large number of species across a number of families." Michelle Paleczny with the University of British Columbia and the Sea Around Us Project said: "When we see this magnitude of seabird decline, we can see there is something wrong with marine ecosystems.

"We can see how industrial fisheries from developing countries are robbing these people of livelihoods and food.

We can also see, that in efforts to stem declines, we have been using more and more bycatch that was once thrown away." Seabirds have been around for sixty million years, and they are true survivalists: circumnavigating the globe without rest, diving more than 200 meters in treacherous seas for food, braving unpredictable weather and finding their way with few, if any, landmarks.

Living on both the open ocean and the shoreline, they face overfishing, drowning in fishing lines or nets, plastic pollution, invasive species like rats in nesting areas, oil and gas development and toxic pollution moving up the food chain.Paleczny and Hammil's research found that the tern family has fallen by 85%, frigatebirds by 81%, petrels and shearwaters by 79%, and albatrosses by 69%.Lascelles said: "Increased efforts should be made to rid seabird colonies of invasive species, reduce bycatch in fisheries or the ensnaring of birds in fish nets, and setting up conservation areas." Paleczny also called for the creation of international marine protected areas to cover the wide ranges of seabirds.Illegal and pirate fishing take place in many parts of the world.Prof Callum Roberts, at the University of York in the UK and not part of Pauly's team, said: "We can see more clearly now, for example, the immense value of fish to poor people in developing countries," he said.

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