Oceans cover 70% of the earth’s surface, yet they are under significant threat from climate change, plastic pollution, overfishing and lack of protected marina areas. For centuries, people have assumed that our vast ocean was limitless and immune to human impacts, but we are coming to understand the devastating effects we’ve already had on our seas.
The time to act is now. The threats that plastic pollution and over-fishing pose to the health of our oceans is clear, and without adequate protections and corporate responsibility, we face creating irreversible damage and the collapse of some of the most important food sources in the world.
1. Climate change
Climate change presents the one of the greatest threats to ocean health. The oceans are getting hotter, this in turn creates increased acidification, while reduced oxygen levels make it harder to breathe. Think of it this way, imagine a fish in an aquarium where we’ve turned up the heat, dripped in acid, and pulled out the oxygen hose. This in many ways is what we are, slowly but surely, doing to our oceans.
We can each reduce our own carbon footprint and help decelerate climate change by making smart choices about what we eat and how we travel.
2. Plastic pollution
It’s thought that there are more than five trillion pieces of plastic pollution afloat in the oceans. And the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is growing. Single-use plastic is everywhere: bottles, bags, food packaging, coffee cups, lids, straws — you name i
We’ve been told for decades that recycling is the solution for these disposable products, yet a whopping 90% of global plastic isn’t recycled — and an enormous quantity of it is ending up in our oceans.
Without significant and urgent change, we face handing the next generation a garbage dump instead of an ocean, unfit for marine life.
3. Sustainable seafood
Almost a third of global fish stocks are over-fished. Global fish populations, a critical source of food for millions of people, are in danger of collapsing due to widespread and destructive fishing practices. Currently, there is very little protection for our threatened marine life and dwindling fish stocks, with less than two percent of our oceans set aside as marine reserves, it has become all too easy for our natural resources to be exploited from lack of protection
4. Marine protected areas (MPA)
We all know that parks and protected areas on land help wildlife such as bears, deer and elephants thrive. The same is true for underwater protected areas. In addition to preserving charismatic and ecologically important marine wildlife, including sharks, dolphins, and corals, protected areas in the ocean can act like a savings accounts for fisheries. Fish inside such areas grow larger and generate more offspring.
Establishing MPA networks is critical to maintaining climate change resilience and rebuilding ecological and social resilience.
For example, MPAs that protect coastal habitats such as barrier islands, coral reefs, mangroves and wetlands reduce human vulnerability in the face of climate change and provide the natural infrastructure (e.g. storm protection) on which people rely.
Strictly protected MPA networks in coastal carbon habitats (mangroves, seagrasses, salt marshes) can ensure that no new emissions arise from the loss and degradation of these areas. At the same time, they stimulate new carbon sequestration through the restoration of degraded coastal habitats.
MPAs, while not impervious to all climate change impacts, provide areas of reduced stress, improving the ability of marine organisms to adapt to climate change.
At Dive Project Cornwall, our vision is simple - eliminate plastic pollution and protect the marine environment to save all life in our oceans for many future generations to enjoy and cherish.
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