Flora and fauna throughout much of the worlds seas and oceans are either threatened or in a parlous state due to a combination of decades of over fishing utilising environmentally unfriendly fishing gears, methods, and practices. Marine youth educational programmes, consumer education, a radical overhaul of the commercial fishing sector at catching, processing, and retail level, with most importantly a recognition from Government that all citizens are stakeholders of the marine resource, coupled with a management and development plan that reflects this wider policy brief would go a long way towards rectifying the current situation.
A few facts and personal thoughts relevant to our Marine Resource.
- Seas and Oceans cover seventy percent of the surface area of the Earth.
- The Oceans and Seas of the World are not separate entities they are connected and represent one large ecosystem.
- A healthy World needs a healthy Ocean.
- The worlds seas and oceans are both a producer of life giving oxygen and a repository of carbon.
- Our Seas and Oceans regulate our climate. Large Ocean currents such as the Gulf Stream transfer heat from the equator towards the poles. As a balance cold water currents move from the poles towards the equator. This process can be termed the Ocean Conveyor Belt.
- Sea fish are the primary source of protein for eighteen percent of the Worlds population today.
- Using 1950 as a baseline year, 80% of fin fish stocks that swam in the worlds seas and oceans 62 years ago have been removed by commercial over fishing, only 20% remain with many species such as North Atlantic cod teetering on the brink of most certainly economic extinction.
- Global warming is changing the chemical composition of our Seas and Oceans. They are becoming less saline due to the introduction of large amounts of freshwater from the shrinking polar icecaps.
- Increases in salinity by altering Ocean chemistry effects the function of Ocean currents, and correspondingly, how they influence climate change.
- Changes in Salinity and global Ocean currents will have a detrimental effect on marine biodiversity as we know it today. The habitat range of species may alter and extinctions could occur. Climate change + Industrial fishing equates to a marine biological time bomb.
- There is no doubt that man through his interference is speeding up certain negative influences that the marine environment is experiencing at present. Removing large amounts of biomass, such as the North Atlantic Cod stock, for commercial gain before assessing the implications of such action is regrettable, and would not be tolerated in any other circumstance.
- Out of sight is out of mind. If all the Zebras and Antelope were removed from the Serengeti game reserve there would be an international outcry. Unfortunately Cod are underwater and out of sight. They, and all other endangered marine creatures, also have to deal with commercial interests linked to political fear and ineptitude, along with public ignorance.
- The key to saving the marine environment is an informed public, shouting out that global environmental mismanagement, sanctioned by commercial and political interests, will no longer be tolerated.
See also: Where are our Mackerel?
See also: Overkill.