COP25 MADRID, International ocean experts gather to kick-off COP25 Oceans Actions Day at the Ocean and Coastal Zones Climate Action event to deliver concrete recommendations on ocean and coastal climate actions, accelerating progress towards global climate goals. The biomes that support about one fifth of the current catch of fish in the world are formed by ocean currents that carry oxygen-poor water to the coast.
In the same period, the volume of anoxic waters - areas completely depleted of oxygen - in the global ocean has quadrupled, according to the report. The authors of the report indicated that in the years 1960-2010 there was a 2 percent decrease in oxygen content in ocean waters, mainly due to global warming.
These areas are especially vulnerable even to small variations in oxygen levels.
Species such as tuna, marlin, and sharks are especially sensitive to lower oxygen levels due to their large size and high energy demand.
"As the warming of the ocean loses oxygen, the delicate balance of marine life is disorganized".
If countries continue with a business-as-usual approach to emissions, the world's oceans are expected to lose 3-4% of their oxygen by the year 2100. But the report says the losses are predicted to be more concentrated in the upper 1000m of the water column which is the highest in marine diversity.
The threat to oceans from nutrient run-off of chemicals such as nitrogen and phosphorus from farms and industry has always been known to impact the levels of oxygen in the sea waters and still remains the primary factor, especially closer to coasts.
This sharp loss of oxygen could lead to more jellyfish and slime in the ocean, negatively affecting industries that rely on fishing to survive.
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"[The results] here will ultimately ripple out and [influence] hundreds of millions of people", the IUCN said.
Ocean life is already struggling with warmer temperatures, unbridled overfishing and plastic pollution.
Any changes to the ocean's oxygen concentration run the risk of collapsing food chains and causing widespread disruption throughout the marine ecosystem.
The World Meteorological Organization said this week that due to the growth of man-made emissions, the ocean is now 26 percent more acidic than before the Industrial Revolution.
"To stop the worrying expansion of oxygen-poor areas, we need to decisively curb greenhouse gas emissions as well as nutrient pollution from agriculture and other sources".
World leaders will gather in Marseille in June for the IUCN's World Conservation Congress.
IUCN Global Marine and Polar Programme Director Minna Epps added: 'Choices taken on the continuing local climate convention will resolve whether our ocean continues to preserve a rich diversity of life, or whether liveable, oxygen-rich marine areas are more and more, gradually and irrevocably misplaced'.
Policy makers are now in negotiations at the COP25 climate summit in Madrid in charge of ratifying a comprehensive rule book for the Paris 2015 agreement.