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from National Geographic (July 2006, p. 78)

Such a concept [overfishing] was unthinkable back in 1969 when Congress appointed the Stratton Commission to prepare the first report on the U.S. coastal zone, which subsequently laid the foundation for current coastal policies. The Stratton commissioners saw the ocean as a source of endless bounty, encouraging the federal government to build up U.S. fishing fleets and drill for oil and gas offshore. Some 40 years later, says Lubcheno [Dr. Jane Lubcheno, OR State Univ., past president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, etc.], it has become painfully obvious just how finite marine resources are and how great a bite humans have taken out of them: 90 percent of the world's large pelagic fishes, like tuna, marlin, and sharks, gone; three-quarters of the world's major fisheries exploited, overfished, or depleted; and enough oil spilling out of U.S. cars to equal an Exxon Valdez-size spill every eight months. Nearly 150 dead zones now occur around the world, including one off Oregon that first appeared in 2002 and that has recurred twice since. Most ominous of all, Lubcheno says, is that the oceans absorb fully half of all the CO2 released by humans—perhaps one of the greatest services the seas provide. But the vast amount of CO2 entering the oceans today is making them more acidic, which, combined with rising sea temperature, could have devastating consequences for anything with a shell or skeleton, essentially making them slower, thinner, and more susceptible to predation.
Tags: oceanic death
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