Resources for Teachers and Students
FOR THE WEEK OF FEB. 23, 2015
Oceans at risk: Overfishing, other threats endanger a critical resource
Look for coverage mentioning a river, lake or ocean. Is it good news?
Find another science or environment story and list at least two things you learn.
Can you spot a photo or article with someone working in a scientific or technical job? What academic training and skills does that person likely use?
A major scientific study has dire warnings about what could happen to the world's oceans if current trends continue. Pollution, industrial-scale fishing and climate change are on the verge of causing unprecedented damage to marine animals and the giant bodies of water where they live, a team of investigators says. A California researcher sees "the possibility of a major extinction event," as Douglas McCauley of the University of California at Santa Barbara puts it.
Heavy catches and illegal fishing are part of what raises concern. Marine biologists also fault the public for caring more about abundant seafood in markets and restaurants than about the plight of the seas. These are among signs of risk, according to scientists: (1) Some ocean species are shrinking in size due to overfishing. (2) Greater damage results from large-scale habitat loss, which is likely to accelerate as technology advances the human impact on oceans. Coral reefs, for example, have declined by 40 percent worldwide, partly as a result of global warming. Some fish are migrate to cooler waters -- if they can. (3) Seas in some ares are growing nore acidic because of pollution carried by rain.
There's time to avert catastrophe, experts say in their report, published recently in the journal Science. "The next several decades will be those in which we choose the fate of the future of marine wildlife," the study says starkly. Governments should adopt policies to limit fishing and other activities than endanger oceans. "There are a lot of tools we can use," McCauley explains. "We better pick them up and use them seriously."
Marine biologist says: "We're lucky in many ways. The impacts are accelerating, but they're not so bad we can’t reverse them." – Malin Pinsky, Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J.
Optimistic view: "Our best partner in saving the ocean is the ocean itself." -- Stephen Palumbi of Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., an author of the new study
Blog says: "The battle against marine extinction starts on our plates. So let's start eating like it!" – OneGreenPlanet.com
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