The 5 Biggest Problems Facing Our Seas
At Roy Moore’s Dive Catalina, the ocean isn’t just our bread and butter; it’s also one of our greatest sources of joy and recreation. The past few decades have seen some of the greatest changes to our world’s ocean ever, and it is becoming a very real and scary threat to our planet. The changing oceans aren’t just destroying coral reefs and wildlife; negative changes in ocean bio-geochemistry can affect sea levels, coastlines, ocean currents, ocean acidification, the sea floor, global weather, and food sources for a countless number of species. It seems like a paradox: one of our greatest sources of life has become one of our greatest dumping grounds. Here are five of the biggest problems facing our seas today and what we can do as a species to halt the process.
Overfishing a population can result in the starvation of marine animals and the extinction of a countless number of species. In essence, the overfishing problem is taking food out of the mouths of other species, leading to chaos in the oceans. Evidence shows that long-term fishing bans are needed in certain areas of the ocean for many species to recover from the devastation. Many fish species need to be sustainably eaten in order to keep the ocean’s fisheries healthy and populated. There are many resources online that can educate you on which species need to be sustainably sourced, which can help when you are choosing your next meal.
Some methods, such as shark finning, should be stopped entirely. Shark finning is the process of cutting a fin off a shark for ingredients in soup. This results in the deaths of tens of millions of sharks a year, which throws off the balance of many ecosystems. The solution? Don’t order shark fin soup.
- Ocean Acidification
The ocean is absorbing hundreds of times more CO2 than in previous centuries due to fossil fuels and carbon emissions. If we continue to use unsustainable sources of fuel for our vehicles and transportation, the ocean will become too acidic to harbor many forms of life. Many species will be wiped out unless there is a global effort to switch to sustainable energy such as wind, solar, nuclear, and electric.
- Dying Coral Reefs
The solution for our dying coral reefs is similar to our ocean acidification issue. Global warming is the primary cause of coral bleaching, which is caused by our dependence on fossil fuels and coal. Greenhouse gases collect in the atmosphere and absorb solar radiation and sunlight. Normally, this radiation would escape into space; however, atmospheric pollutants trap the heat caused by this radiation and warm the planet faster than ever before.
- Ocean Dead Zones
Ocean dead zones are caused by a lack of oxygen, global warming being the prime suspect. Over 4,000 dead zones are known to exist, with many others rapidly developing. Reducing our use of fertilizers and pesticides that cause ocean run-off may be a step in the right direction.
- Plastic Garbage
Currently, there is a giant collection of plastic the size of Texas sitting in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Known as the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch”, this mass of garbage is killing marine life and seabirds at a startling rate. This problem has garnered attention from David de Rothschild and many other eco-warriors. The solution? We need to reduce our dependence on plastic.
Many new attempts are being made to Geo-engineer our oceans and balance the pH levels of our oceans. There are many methods that are currently being tested, such as dumping limestone in the water to the development of many plastic-cleanup companies globally. Following some of the suggestions in this post can help make a difference in the planet’s waters so we can all continue to eat cleanly, avoid climate change, and continue to dive with a clean conscience.