Also on MNN: Vanessa explains ocean acidification
The saddest untold story in the environmental movement is the demise of the world's oceans. We are literally eating it to death. Fish stocks are collapsing all around the world as more than a million commercial-sized fishing boats drag traps, nets, and miles of hooked line, snaring over a hundred million tons of sea life a year. Modern fishing techniques like trawling and gillnetting scoop up everything in the water for miles, much of the fish and other marine life is simply tossed back into the sea, dead or dying. It's clearcut hunting, and it's happening everywhere on the planet where there are still fish.
Good has an extremely well-written article with a killer title, "Fin: The Last Days of Fish," that you should read. It's not a happy article. We're doing a terrific job of denuding the oceans of life. My children could grow up to see the oceans turn into a toxic stew of jellyfish and burned out coral.
Our oceans have one tenth the number of fish they once held and that dwindling population is under constant attack from the largest and most technologically advanced fishing fleet in history. We need to react to the problems facing the oceans with just as much speed and focus as global warming. They are tied together in more than a few ways, one being that higher concentrations of CO2 cause the oceans acidity to increase, making it harder, and at some point impossible, for sea life to create shells from calcium. Higher acidity is a bad, bad thing for certain kind of plankton, the base of the entire marine food web. If the plankton goes away, the ocean's food web would collapse, completely.
Billions of people get the bulk of their protein by eating fish. A collapse in the world's fish stock would mean chaos, starvation and strife all around the world. Let's do our best to avoid that. Get educated on the issue and make sure it's something you're talking about. The good news is that it might not be too late if we act fast.
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