Peak Fish... Not A Joke...

Discussion in 'Economics' started by 2cents, Oct 23, 2006.


    Fisheries Exhausted in a Single Generation
    "Over a billion people depend on fisheries around the world as their primary source of protein and livelihood."

    "This map of ocean fisheries shows in dark red those areas that reached their maximum catch, and when. Pink shows those areas where fish production has peaked and then began to decline.

    Our technology has become so advanced that we have been able to track fish in places we did not know they existed, harvest them to exhaustion, and then move on to new areas and new species.

    This animated map, based on the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, illustrates how, in a single generation, we have essentially exhausted the wealth of the seas. Our fisheries are no longer sustainable, they are in constant decline."

    Jonathan Lash, President
    World Resources Institute
    Speaking at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS)October 2006

    For more information, visit Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA).
  2. dac8555


    here in costa rica they are working on a way to have fish farms in the ocean. They have huge nets that make in the water and breed within them. I think it is a good idea...or cut down on comercial fishing all together.
  3. both sound like pretty good ideas! time's not really on our side is it... :

    "The first "dead zones" -- where pollution-fed algae remove oxygen from the water -- were found in northern latitudes like the Chesapeake Bay on the US East Coast and the Scandinavian fjords.

    Today, the best known is in the Gulf of Mexico, where fertilizers and other algae-multiplying nutrients are dumped by the Mississippi River.

    Others have been appearing off South America, Ghana, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Portugal and Britain.

    The UNEP said in a statement that experts warn "these areas are fast becoming major threats to fish stocks and thus to the people who depend upon fisheries for food and livelihoods." The full list is expected to be published early next year, but the preliminary findings were released on Thursday at an international marine pollution conference in Beijing, China, which gathered delegates from more than 100 nations. "

    more on this:
    Marine Scientists Report Massive "Dead Zones"
    Stephen Leahy

    BROOKLIN, Canada, Oct 5 (IPS) - Rising tides of untreated sewage and plastic debris are seriously threatening marine life and habitat around the globe, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) warned in a report Wednesday.

    The number of ocean "dead zones" has grown from 150 in 2004 to about 200 today, said Nick Nuttall, a UNEP spokesperson.

    "These are becoming more common in developing countries," Nuttall told IPS from Nairobi, Kenya.

    Dead zones can encompass areas of ocean 100,000 square kms in size where little can live because there is no oxygen left in the water. Nitrogen pollution, mainly from farm fertilisers and sewage, produces blooms of algae that absorb all of the oxygen in the water.

    Growing global populations, mainly concentrated along coastlines, and the resulting increase in untreated sewage are endangering human health and wildlife, as well as livelihoods from fisheries to tourism, according to the "State of the Marine Environment" report.

    "An estimated 80 percent of marine pollution originates from the land," said Achim Steiner, United Nations undersecretary-general and UNEP's executive director.

    "And this could rise significantly by 2050 if, as expected, coastal populations double in just over 40 years time and action to combat pollution is not accelerated," Steiner said in a statement.

    The report is compiled from a wide variety of government, academic and other sources by UNEP's Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-Based Sources.

    In many developing countries, between 80 percent and nearly 90 percent of sewage entering the coastal zones is estimated to be raw and untreated. These wastes contain bacteria and viruses that can contaminate marine species such as shellfish that are consumed by people, Nuttall said.

    Studies in the Caribbean Sea have also shown that sewage encourages the spread of disease in corals, ultimately destroying them. Around 80 percent of Caribbean coral has been lost to disease in the past 20 years, report researchers at the University of North Carolina in the United States.

    Some cities in the developed world also dump their sewage directly into waterways.

    More than one half of wastewater entering the Mediterranean Sea is untreated, as is 60 percent of the wastewater discharged into the Caspian Sea, the UNEP report found.

    Unlike the United States and countries in the European Union, Canada has no national standards for sewage treatment for cities. Montreal dumps billions of litres of untreated sewage into the St. Lawrence River, while the postcard-perfect tourist city of Victoria, British Columbia dumps all of its waste directly into the Pacific Ocean.

    Such waste can contain high levels of toxic chemicals, heavy metals and excreted pharmaceuticals. The latter pose risks that are only beginning to be understood. Emerging research shows negative impacts on marine life from residues of birth control and antidepressant drugs like Prozac even at extremely low concentrations of less than one part per billion.

    "The big unknown" is what effect these pharmaceutical residues might have on chronically exposed plants, animals and people, Christian Daughton, chief of the environmental chemistry branch at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, has been reported as saying.

    Expensive treatment plants are not the only solution to untreated sewages wastes -- coastal wetlands, salt marshes and mangroves can also do the job, Nuttall explained.

    "It's important for governments to conserve and rehabilitate these natural features and take their value into consideration in their urban planning," he said.

    Plastic is an even more visible environmental concern, killing more than a million seabirds and 100,000 mammals and sea turtles each year, according to previous U.N. reports.

    Plastic bags, bottle tops and polystyrene foam coffee cups are often found in the stomachs of dead sea lions, dolphins, sea turtles and birds. Seagulls in the North Sea had an average of 30 pieces of plastic in their stomachs, according to a Dutch study in 2004.

    The volume of plastic debris was estimated at eight million pieces a day in 1982 and is unquestionably much higher today, perhaps double or triple that number. About 20 percent of the plastic in the oceans comes from ships or offshore platforms; the rest is blown or washed off the land, according to the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy.

    Plastic debris is now found everywhere, even the remotest regions of Antarctica.

    Truly pristine locales no longer exist, writes David K.A. Barnes of the British Antarctic Survey in a recent paper.

    "Some surveys have involved the first known visit by man to very 'remote' shores, but our miracle material had long since beaten us there," he wrote.

    In parts of the Southern Ocean, marine debris has tripled in volume in the past decade. Barnes has also shown that marine debris is transporting exotic species to locales they could never have reached normally, changing the ecology of some regions.

    Most plastics do not biodegrade, they just break up into ever-smaller particles. British scientists have discovered that microscopic pieces of plastic can be found everywhere in the oceans, even inside plankton, the foundation of the marine food chain.

    "The problem of marine litter has steadily grown worse, despite national and international efforts to control it," acknowledges the UNEP report.

    The report's findings will be officially presented to governments attending a review of the decade-old Global Programme of Action initiative taking place in Beijing, China, from Oct. 16-20.

    There have been some improvements, the report notes. Levels of oily waste discharged from industry and cities has, since the mid 1980s, been cut by close to 90 percent. Marine contamination from toxic persistent organic pollutants like DDT and discharges of radioactive waste has also been sharply reduced.

    However, larger challenges lie ahead, such as global warming and sea level rise.

    "So we have a long way to go politically, technically and financially if we are to hand over healthy and productive seas and oceans to the next generation," Steiner said. (END/2006)

    here's the full report fyi: "Our Precious Coasts" takes a while to download but worth the wait...
  4. I believe most tuna consumed in sushi joints comes from these farms.

    Great ideas in motion...
  5. dac8555


    I hope so! I dont know why anyone whould be surpised about this data...we fish the HELL out of the waters...we dont replenish..there are minial controls....what do we think is going to happen?????
  6. nkhoi

    nkhoi Moderator

  7. excellent idea! the fish's excellent... i've spent time on a thai farm ages ago, 100km inland... there were plenty of them

    shld be featured more prominently on all restaurants' fish menus!
  8. pphheewww... i feel much better about trashing the oceans now!

    wait wait... THAT is a joke :D
  9. Fish farms are an environmental disaster.

    A good book to check out is "The way we eat: Why our food choices matter" by Peter Singer and Jim Mason.
    #10     Oct 23, 2006