WWF: Climate Change Is Converting Mediterranean into a ‘Tropical Sea’

Tourists enjoy the beach of the Isola dei Conigli (Rabbit Island) in Lampedusa on September 27, 2018. - Five years after the worst shipwreck of its history, the largest island of the Italian Pelagie Islands in the Mediterranean Sea, Lampedusa relies on the flood of tourists to make a fresh …
ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP via Getty Images

ROME, Italy — The Mediterranean is turning into a tropical sea due to rising global temperatures, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) warned in a June report.

The WWF claims the Mediterranean is becoming “the fastest-warming and the saltiest sea on the planet,” a situation calling for “urgent action” to stem the warming process.

“The scenarios presented by experts on the future of the Mediterranean, which speak of accelerating temperature rises and the entry of numerous alien species, the Mare Nostrum is at risk of changing face very quickly with inevitable consequences for communities,” Donatella Bianchi, president of WWF Italy, said.

“Now, more than ever, it is necessary to focus on the protected marine area, at least 30% by 2030,” Bianchi said.

In its report, WWF warns, “Climate change has already transformed – sometimes irreversibly – some of the most important marine ecosystems of the Mediterranean, with consequences for economic sectors like fisheries and tourism, and changes in our fish consumption.”

“Urgent action is needed to mitigate further greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the new reality of a warming sea,” it states.

Giuseppe Di Carlo, director of WWF’s Mediterranean Marine Initiative said the current trend of global warming must be reversed.

“The Mediterranean of today is not the same as it used to be,” Di Carlo said. “Its tropicalization is well under way.”

“Climate change is not in the future, it is a reality of today that scientists, fishers, divers, coastal communities and tourists are already experiencing,” he continued. “There is a lot at stake for the economy and the benefits that the Mediterranean Sea provides.”

The WWF has launched “GenerAzione Mare” in support of the Mediterranean, a collective effort to defend “blue capital,” the Italian ANSA news service announced Monday.

WWF underscored what it sees as five main threats to the Mediterranean: unsustainable fishing, risks to endangered species, climate change, plastics, and overdevelopment.

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