With the beginning of a new year, it’s wise to set a course straight and true not only in our personal lives but in King Neptune’s realm as well. Remember, if you don’t set a goal and aim for it, at the end of the year you’re going to be no closer to it. With the problems that face the sea, we can’t afford to sit out one more year hoping things will get better.
Anyone in love with the sea or concerned about its health as well as those who work or play on it should keep a scrutinizing eye on the following issues:
… Coral bleaching. When coral becomes stressed either from water that’s too warm or from chemicals and sediments that don’t belong there, it turns white, a sure sign of a huge problem. If the problem doesn’t go away, the coral will die. That’s a huge problem. Coral beds are the nurseries for all kinds of fish. Kill off those on the lower chain, kill off those above it.
… Overfishing. This doesn’t need a whole lot of explanation. A lot of species of fish are being over fished all around the world. When they can’t rebound, they die off till extinction becomes a reality. For millions of people from a wide panorama of cultures, it means the difference between a sustainable living and a life of poverty. Overfishing has actually contributed to Somalian piracy; with other countries illegally fishing in local waters, options are limited for fishermen trying to feed their family.
… Excessive shark hunting. This includes finning, a process of removing the fins of a shark while it is still alive then throwing it back into the sea where it will die. Who cares about a few sharks? They deserve what they get when you consider the blood thirsty creatures they are as evidenced by JAWS. You should. To set the record straight, people are not on the main menu of sharks. They’re not even listed on the dessert menu. Sharks have a voracious appetite but it’s for fish. When sharks disappear from the ocean in great numbers, the rest of the oceanic environment is in deep trouble.
The ocean is on fire, and 170 countries are meeting in Paris between November 30 and December 11 to try and stop it.
… Coral reefs are dying, crippling the food chain for fish who depend on them.
… Our melting Polar caps are already wreaking havoc for polar bears and other wildlife not to mention island and coastal nations whose populations will be devastated in the not too distant future.
… Over-fishing is decimating fish populations with disastrous consequences for nations whose livelihood depends on fishing. In particular is the wanton slaughter of sharks which keep the food chain of the seas in balance.
… Add to these woes habitat loss for a wide variety of marine life, and pollution through garbage and oil spills, and things seem like they can’t get much bleaker, but they can.
… Our oceans are growing more acidic daily. In fact, acidification has become the cancer of our seas, deadly and silent as it grows unchecked.
Acidification occurs naturally in the ocean on a routine basis. What makes it so horrendous is that the PH balance is occurring at an alarming rate. Treehugger.com does a great job explaining the process. When the PH balance of the sea is changed, the skeleton formations of many species of shellfish and other sea life is destroyed. Think of it as osteoporosis for the creatures of the sea.
And why is the PH level dropping? Because the tons of fossil fuel which we’re burning around the world is absorbed by the oceans once it falls from the atmosphere.
Planetearthherald.com warns us that the 30% increase of acidity we’ve seen in our oceans so far is nothing compared to the 150% increase we’re going to witness over the next hundred years. What a legacy to leave our grandchildren and their grandchildren!
If we learned nothing else about the ecosystems of our planet, it’s that everything is interconnected. Alter one part of the equation, and you affect everything else. Global warming, for example, contributes to coral bleaching big time. When coral bleaching occurs, the algae living in their tissue turn white. Though not dead, the coral become so stressed they have a hard time coping, and without a reprieve, they die. Of course, temperature, light, and nutrients affect the health of coral as well.