Protecting and Preserving Marine Life: A Most-Essential Goal For the 21st Century
The efforts of human exploitation of ocean resources have had catastrophic effects on marine life. The large disasters of modern times have brought attention to some of the problems (i.e. The Alaska-Exxon Valdez oil spill (1989), the destruction of Kuwait's oil fields in the 1st Gulf Wa (1991)r, and the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico (2010) are high-profile examples of marine ecosystem disasters (each having long-term impacts). However, it is the small scale, daily exploitation impacts of a growing human population that is having catastrophic effects on marine ecosystems (and human communities that rely on marine resources).
* 80% of available fish stock are now fully exploited, overexploited, or depleted/recovering.
* Large predatory fish reduced are greatly reduced in populations.
* Global warming of ocean waters is causing havoc on marine ecosystems: warmer water increases metabolism needs of marine life, affecting their life and reproduction cycles. In addition, thicker thermoclines reduce upwelling of nutrient-rich waters, reducing primary production.
Many countries are now using Fisheries Management. Fisheries management involves regulation, education, enforcement, with an effort to create self-sustaining ecosystems.
Much work needs to be done!