The oceans contain 97 percent of the Earth’s water and are central to sustaining all life [Gallo/Getty]

The loss of oxygen from the ocean due to climate change and nutrient pollution risks “dire effects” on sea life, fisheries and coastal communities, a global conservation body has warned

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) said on Saturday that about 700 sites had been identified globally with low oxygen levels – up from only 45 in the 1960s.

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In the same period, the group warned in the largest peer-reviewed study to date that the volume of anoxic waters – areas totally devoid of oxygen – have quadrupled.

“What we are seeing is a decline of 2 percent in the global oxygen level [in

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