Conservation

We only have this one world, let’s take care of it!

One_world_sm
The impact the over 7 billion humans have on this planet is immense.
Here are a few areas that worry me the most,
with the idea to inform and initiate change in all of us.

 

 

Why we should Worry about our Oceans

show

The Facts: We need our oceans

Oceans cover 71% of the Earth’s surface and contain 97% of the planet’s water, yet more than 95% of the underwater world remains unexplored. The oceans and lakes play an integral role in many of the Earth’s systems including climate and weather. The ocean supports the life of nearly 50% of all species on Earth and helps sustain that life providing 20% of the animal protein. There are at least 178,000 different species living in the oceans, but this might only be a fraction of the true number, as deep sea exploration continually reveals more. Unfortunately we are protecting less than 1% of the oceanic area and we are using this ecosystem much too heavily. [sources: 1, 2]
Besides being one of our planet’s biological life-support-systems, we rely on our oceans for food, recreation (beach or boat holidays, swimming, diving, surfing), transportation, energy, etc. In our own interest we should take good care of them!

 

The Problem: We are eating our oceans to death

Many species have been fished close to extinction. By changing the delicate balance in the oceans, we are threatening this underwater world – and our own (or future generations’) existence.
What we all need to think about is sustainability – making use of the resources in a non-destructive way. The main problems are:

  • Overfishing: We have been hunting the popular species like tuna, cod and salmon too efficiently, they are disappearing in large areas of the world. Some other species are simply not suitable for mass consumption as they reproduce too slowly.
  • The Methods used to catch fish heavily influence the sustainability of the product. Dragging a weighted net across the seabed (bottom trawling) is unacceptable as it destroys the habitat of many species and catches everything that can’t move out of the way. Sending lines with thousands of hooks into the deep (longline fishing) entangles and kills sea birds. Handline and line-and-hook are more selective and less destructive and recommended methods where possible. (fishing methods glossary)
  • Bycatch and discards are problems that arise from these issues. Vulnerable species like sea turtles, albatrosses, dolphins are killed accidentally.  Unwanted animals from the nets are thrown back in the ocean dead because of unspecific fishing methods, wrong fishing politics and selective market pressure. This leads to e.g. half of the fish caught in the North Sea being discarded – life taken for nothing, beauty destroyed by accident. [sources: 3, 4, 5]

 

It’s not too late: Do your share

You can make a difference by selecting which seafood to eat and which to avoid. For the UK market fishonline.org has checklist about eating and avoiding. Download the good fish guide to help you chose in the supermarket. And of course – there’s an app for that for iPhone and Android. The WWF also keeps a list of seafood guides for different regions and languages of the world. Alternatively look at the international resources of SeeFoodWatch. The Greenpeace red list shows information about the most endangered species and has many further (country-specific) pointers.
Seafood is good for you – but you don’t need much of it to be healthy.
And you don’t need to go to that trendy sushi place every week. If you do – Here is a guide to help you choose the best choice of sushi and WWF apps for Android and for iPhone.
Similarly we also don’t need meat every day, in fact many of the modern health problems are probably related to these western over-eating habits – but that’s another story.
Talk about these problems with your fishmonger and your friends. Everyone should be aware of these facts before we’ve eaten our final portion fish-and-chips.

 

Sources and further information

  1. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  2. Greenpeace
  3. The Marine Conservation Society [UK]
  4. Hugh’s fish fight campaign
  5. Good Catch project
  6. Jamie Oliver’s “sustainable fish” recipes andvideos.
  7. Slow-fish project

 

The blessing and curse of Plastic

[content in preparation]