fishermen

Ten Disturbing Things You Should Know about the Sea and What You Can Do about it

IMG_3544  June 08 is World Ocean Day. Soon many of us will be gearing up for a nice vacation at our favorite beach or looking forward to a relaxing weekend at the shore, but June’s also a good time to reflect on what the sea means to us and what we can do to make it healthier. Here are a few things to consider over the next few days.

  1. Fourteen billion pounds of garbage ends up in the ocean every year. How much of that is yours? Recycling really does make a difference.
  1. Most of the protein humans consume comes from fish. What happens when pollution makes fish so sick they become inedible? And what becomes of us when we over fish and our oceans are void of life? It’s a problem we really can solve.
  1. Plastic in our oceans accounts for the deaths of more than a million sea birds and 100,000 sea mammals. Do you really want to be part of that problem?
  1. Deaths from shark bites average about seven to ten a year worldwide. In the U.S. alone, deaths from bee stings number around 53. Lightning kills about 9o people. Don’t believe the hype created by Hollywood movies.
  1. Because of the similarities between coral and human bones, coral is being used to repair bones. Kill off the coral reefs and you’re killing off a lot more than one of Mother Ocean’s precious nurseries, nurseries that harbor thousands of fish vital to our food chain.

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A Salute to Mariners

We owe an incredible debt to mariners whether they answer the call of the sea for money or adventure. Include in that group commercial fishermen, members of the merchant marines, ferry and tugboat operators, workers on cruise ships, and many more brave men and women who know what the demands of life on board a ship entails.

And make no mistake about it. The men and women who serve in the United States Navy, Coast Guard, and Marines and around the world are a special breed of mariners. Along with the aforementioned, they willingly put themselves in harm’s way for their country not only in war time but in times of crisis when life, limb, and property hang in the balance.

Much has been made of the dangers from pirates these past several years. With more than one sailor losing his life to these ruthless cutthroats, they are a force to be reckoned with. The luckier ones have been held ransom while loved ones a world away wait for years in dread and uncertainty.

But pirates aren’t the only peril mariners face when the last vestiges of land disappear. As stately and rugged as they are, ships today still must face the ferocity of storms at sea. How many men and women lost their lives just in this past year because of storms? Only the other day, a Russian trawler went down within minutes with fifty-four dead and fifteen missing. The death toll would have been far worse if not for nearby sailors risking their lives to save those in the frigid, choppy waters.

Old or poorly maintained ships are yet another hazard many mariners around the world must deal with. Alas, it’s a fact of life that for some companies the bottom line supersedes the lives of those who serve on their ships.

Ask any mariner working on a fishing boat or cargo ship about the dangers they face on any given voyage. It’s not a reflection on the captain or crew. It’s the nature of the job. Equipment doesn’t always work the way it’s supposed to. Long hours and weariness take their toll, making it easier for accidents to happen.

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