Oceanic Fishery Essay

1184 words - 5 pages

'Mission Blue' Warning: The Ocean Is Not Too Big to FailSylvia A. Earle / 8.5.14 / http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/08/15/mission-blue-warning-the-ocean-is-not-too-big-to-fail.htmlCoral reefs are in decline, coastal dead zones are on the rise, and marine life is dying. An oceanographer says it's time to take care of the ocean as if our lives depend on it-because they do.In a presentation at the World Bank headquarters in 2009, I began by showing the classic image of Earth from space and commented: "There it is-The World Bank. Throughout the history of humankind, we have been drawing down the assets, living on the capital without accounting properly for the losses."We humans have this idea that the Earth-all of it: the oceans, the skies-are so vast and so resilient it doesn't matter what we do to it. This is especially true of the ocean, where impacts are less obvious than for terrestrial systems. Current policies and mindsets around the globe were formed decades ago when it seemed the ocean was "too big to fail."But failing it is with about half the coral reefs, kelp forests, mangroves, sea grass meadows, and coastal marshes globally gone or in serious decline, hundreds of coastal dead zones, and steep reductions in numerous commercially-exploited species of shark, swordfish, tuna, cod, salmon, and many others. At the same time, the role of the ocean in governing climate, weather, oxygen production, the carbon cycle, water cycles, and overall planetary chemistry has come into clear focus. Now we know: If the ocean is in trouble, so are we. It is time to take care of the ocean as if our lives depend on it, because they do.As an ocean scientist and explorer with thousands of hours on, around and especially under the sea, I have personally witnessed a time of unprecedented discovery-and unprecedented loss. For me, as a scientist, it all began in 1953 when I first tried scuba. It's when I first got to know fish swimming in something other than lemon slices and butter. And in 1970, when I led a team of aquanauts living underwater for weeks at a time, I had the ability to stay in the sea and get to know individual fish and other creatures in ways that are not possible when you only have a few minutes to observe the action.In the 50 years I've been exploring the world's oceans, I've seen drastic changes. Many of the marine species we depend on for food and other products have been decimated-existing now at only about 10 percent of their previous levels. And as marine life has disappeared, commercial fishing operations have faltered or failed. Commercial fishing has caused significant damage to largely unknown ecosystems in the sea; depleted numerous species of fish, seabirds and marine mammals; and doomed many others to extinction. With the decimation of many coastal fish stocks worldwide, such as the Northeastern U.S. cod fishery, the fishing industry has moved on to the high seas-the 64 percent of the ocean that extends beyond national...

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