Thanks +Andy Stuart
, for reminding us to take care of our oceans and the wonderful photos.
Reshared text:Our Seas
As photographers we love shooting at the coast, the public love the images and the sea produces £millions for the economy. Having said that you would think, even for purely economic reasons, that we would try to keep our seas in pristine condition.
Approximately 71% of the planet's surface (~3.6×108 km2) is covered by saline water. Because it is the principal component of Earth's hydrosphere, the world ocean is integral to all known life, forms part of the carbon cycle, and influences climate and weather patterns. The total volume is approximately 1.3 billion cubic kilometres (310 million cu mi) with an average depth of 3,790 metres (12,430 ft). It is the habitat of 230,000 species known to science, however much of the ocean's depths remain unexplored and it is estimated that over 2 million marine species may exist.
Yet we still abuse the Oceans with chemicals, particles, industrial, agricultural and residential waste, noise, or the spread of invasive organisms. Most sources of marine pollution are land based. Many potentially toxic chemicals adhere to tiny particles which are then taken up by plankton and benthos animals, most of which are either deposit or filter feeders. In this way, the toxins are concentrated upward within ocean food chains. Many particles combine chemically in a manner highly depletive of oxygen, causing estuaries to become anoxic.
Whaling is the hunting of free roaming whales. It has become a high-profile issue in marine conservation activism as it has led to the endangerment of 5 out of the 13 kinds of whales. The International Whaling Commission (IWC) had instituted a whaling moratorium in order to give whales time to recover. According to environmental groups, however, blue whales have not recovered. Other whale populations have been drastically depleted.
The IWC does not include three countries who ignore the moratorium and continue their whaling practices: Japan, Iceland and Norway. 20 years after the moratorium, the whale is again at risk of further endangerment. Unlike whales, small cetaceans (e.g., dolphins, pilot whales, belugas, and orcas) do not have an international body like the International Whaling Commission to regulate the killing. There are simply no regulations or the regulations are ignored.
90% of the world's large shark populations already wiped out, sharks are being depleted faster than they can reproduce. This threatens the stability of marine ecosystems around the world. Sharks are vitally important apex predators. They have shaped marine life in the oceans for over 400 million years and are essential to the health of the planet, and ultimately to the survival of mankind.
Canada's commercial seal "hunt" is the largest mass slaughter of marine mammals in the world. This year, Canada will allow 270,000 harp seals to be killed.
Canada's 2006 quota for killing seals: 325,000 for the regular commercial "hunt" and an additional 10,000 harp seal allowance for new aboriginal initiatives, personal use, and Arctic hunts. As usual, the commercial quota was exceeded, resulting in over 330,000 seals being killed.
The bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) is the fastest fish in the sea, one of the largest fish in the ocean, and a marvel of creation – unique in that is a warm-blooded animal. Bluefin tuna (BFT) are one of the top predators of the seas – they eat just about anything and travel great distances, swimming up to 55 miles per hour, to find their prey. Unfortunately, it is the favoured fish of sushi restaurants worldwide, especially in Japan, and that is the reason that this magnificent creature is now on the fast track to biological extinction.
One fish sold for US$173,000 recently. With that kind of financial incentive, it is impossible to expect common sense to reign. Governments have proven to be incapable of putting a stop to this carnage due to the deep pockets of the fishing industry, and corruption is rampant. Stocks of bluefin tuna have fallen by at least 85% since the industrial fishing era began. Bluefin quotas are set at a ludicrously high 13,500 tons by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), but realistically over 60,000 tons are killed every year. The scientific community believes bluefin tuna is at a high risk of fisheries and stock collapse in the Mediterranean Sea in less than 5 years. The quota is too high and it is not enforced.
These are just some examples of abuse of the Oceans around the world. Even the waters shown in the images are not without major problems as this clipping from the Guardian newspaper from May 2010 highlights.
The crash has been huge for some species. From 1889 to 2007, the LPUP declined 500 times for halibut, more than 100 times for haddock, and more than 20 times for plaice, wolffish, hake and ling.
Cod had declined by 87%, the study, published by the online science journal Nature Communications, found.
The figures indicated fish stocks were in decline well before the amount of fish being caught went "catastrophically downhill" in the 1960s, the study's authors said.
They called for much stronger reform of the EU common fisheries policy to allow for recovery of fisheries in the seas around the British Isles.
The study's lead author, Ruth Thurstan, of the University of York's environment department, said: "Fishermen have to work 17 times harder than 100 years ago to get the equivalent catch.
"And this is despite more powerful boats, more durable and wider nets, freezing facilities – technology that is far more sophisticated than in the last century.
"Now UK fishing trawlers are bringing in about 150,000 tonnes a year, compared to double that 100 years ago.
"The availability of certain bottom-living fish, like halibut, turbot, haddock and plaice, has also dropped by 94%. This is not a direct measure of fish stocks, but based on catch numbers ... it does give a strong indication of the state fish stocks are in."
Simon Brockington, the head of conservation at the MCS and the co-author of the study, said: "Over a century of intensive trawl fishing has severely depleted UK seas of bottom-living fish like halibut, turbot, haddock and plaice.
"It is vital that governments recognise the changes that have taken place. The reform of the common fisheries policy gives an opportunity to set stock protection and recovery targets that are reflective of the historical productivity of the sea."
Scotland's seas and coasts are home to an amazing range of marine species and habitats, from the sheltered sea lochs to the open waters, from seagrass beds to rocky reefs and underwater seamounts. Not only do such diverse habitats support thriving populations of sea mammals like otters, dolphins, whales and seals, but they are also home to vast numbers of seabirds, fish and other spectacular marine wildlife like seahorses, sponges and deepwater corals. The marine environment also supports numerous human activities including fisheries, tourism and will be a key area for the development of important marine renewable infrastructures.
Despite the importance of the marine environment, we are failing to manage it sustainably. This is why WWF Scotland is working to move management towards sustainability in line with international commitments to ensure the long term health of Scotland's marine species and habitats.
We must start to take more care of our oceans and the habitats beneath the waves, before it's too late for them to recover.
Info and further reading from:http://scotland.wwf.org.uk/what_we_do/safeguarding_the_natural_world/scottish_seas/http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oceanhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marine_pollutionhttp://overfishing.org/http://www.seashepherd.org/index.phphttp://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/may/04/fish-stocks-uk-decline
#nature #ocean #atlantic #conservation #photography #whaling #sealhunt #sharkfinning #tuna #bluefintuna #wwf