Researchers at the University of California – Santa Barbara (UCSB) and colleagues reviewed the past, present and future of marine animal life.
A consortium of scientists said that wildlife populations in the oceans are as healthy as those on land were hundreds or thousands of years ago.
However, they warn, that may be about to change as the next 100 years promise to present major challenges to marine life.
The new research compares the march of the Industrial Revolution on land to current patterns of human use of the world's oceans.
"A lot has changed in the last 200 years," said lead author Douglas McCauley, a professor in UCSB's Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology (EEMB).
"Our tackle box has industrialized," said McCauley. "There are factory farms in the sea and cattle-ranch-style feed lots for tuna," said co-author Steve Palumbi of Stanford University.
According to the researchers, increasing industrial use of the oceans and the globalization of ocean exploitation threaten to damage the health of marine wildlife populations, making the situation in the oceans as grim as that on land.
Among the most serious threats to ocean wildlife is climate change, which according to the scientists is degrading marine wildlife habitats and has a greater impact on these animals than it does on terrestrial fauna.
The finding was published in the journal Science.

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