3 Ways We Have Turned The Ocean Into An Underwater Graveyard

 

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 This is us.  This is our future.  50 years from now our fisheries could be a barren, underwater wasteland. This desolate landscape will be caused by the acts of a single species, leading to the devastation of all life on the planet. The marine life in the ocean is declining at an alarming rate.  The world’s oceans have lost  already 75 percent of their large animals (Roberts, 2012).  So what exactly is causing this holocaust?

Photo by Dan Tentler

Photo by Dan Tentler

 

#3 : Our pollution is turning the ocean into an acid bath

We’re not talking about the acid that makes you see dragons and taste colors(though that too is interesting). We are talking about the acid accumulating in the oceans. The same acid that is rotting our teeth away in our favorite soda drinks. Carbonic acid, formed from excessive carbon dioxide being absorbed into the oceans. The oceans absorb a quarter of all the carbon dioxide(Congressional Digest, 2014). This absorption has rapidly led to increased levels of acidity in the oceans. The acidity has increased 30% since pre industrial times and is only going to continue to rise(Congressional Digest, 2014). This has destroyed ecosystems around the world and will continue to do so.

A fisherman prepares his boat for the daily slaughter. Photo by James Brooks

A fisherman prepares his boat for the daily slaughter. Photo by James Brooks

 #2  : Our cancerous touch has reached almost all the World’s Oceans

From the North Banks to the coast of the Antarctica, we affect the entire ocean. The acid we cause plays an effect on the whole world, touching nearly every ecosystem with this toxic water. Acid ,however is just one piece to the puzzle. We actively take from most the ecosystems around the world. Every place in the ocean shallower than 3000 feet is already being fished, some places we have even fished down to 10,000 feet(Roberts, 2012). We are influencing ecosystems negatively with our presence. By removing large numbers of the target species we fish for, other rival species can thrive and upset the entire food web. This unbalancing of ecosystems is causing harm to oceans around the world.

Cod look to bottom of the net for an escape, they find no such hole.

Cod look to bottom of the net for an escape, they find no such hole. Photo by Derek Keats.

#1 : We are greedy

The world demands more fish be caught every year, and this demand has led to increased catches every year. However, the number of places to fish has remained the same. As a result, we have over-fished almost one in every three fisheries in the world(Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2014). We know how much is a sustainable level in each fishery, but we continue to exceed that level in more and more places. We are destroying our fisheries by taking more than can be replenished.

What can you do?

Reducing your carbon footprint will reduce ocean acidification.

Reducing your carbon footprint will reduce ocean acidification. Photo by Agustin Ruiz.

  • Reduce Your Pollutants

The amount of acid formed in the ocean is directly related to the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.By reducing your personal carbon footprint, you can help reduce the acidification.

Be informed on where the fish you buy come from.

Be informed on where the fish you buy come from. Photo by ourdogholly.

  • Buy From Only Sustainable Sources 

This requires a some research before beginning your grocery shopping adventure. If you live near the sea, find a locally supported community fishery. If you live further inland, do some research into what fish are being caught in a sustainable fashion, and support those fisheries.

Write your elected officials.

Write your elected officials. Photo by Gene Han.

  • Spread The Word

Let others around you know about this problem. The more that know about this, the more that can be done to help reverse the effects. Write your government representatives, let them know this is an issue their constituents care about.

 


Works Cited

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.  (2014).  The state of the world’s

fisheries and aquaculture: Opportunities and challenges.  Rome, ITA: Food and

Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

 

Oceans and the environment:Impact of climate change on ocean health and marine resources.

(2014). Congressional Digest93(7), 2-5.

 

Roberts, C. (2012). The sorrow beneath the sea. Newsweek159(21), 26-31.

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