• neevrpawar

How are we affecting our marine life?


Hey all! How’s it going? Neev here! I am a 6th grader from India and I love the ocean so getting an opportunity to help make the ocean a better place is a dream come true for me! Today I will be sharing a little bit about how I think humans are contributing to the oceans and their inhabitants.



Contribution, the contribution of us, the humans…Think, what have we done more? Conservation or destruction? What kind of contribution have we done as responsible humans? Well, we as humans have made many contributions to the ocean and the life thriving within it, both positive and negative.


Personally, I think humans have practically been destroying the oceans for their own needs and greed. When we mine or burn coal we make the oceans warmer and acidic. Mining and burning coal are driving global warming, and due to this, corals are “bleaching” and dying, among many other impacts. Humans have also created plastic which has ended up in our oceans, either by us throwing our plastic and garbage into the ocean or by plastic waste making its way from landfills into our oceans. To protest this, many organizations, like WWF, have taken the initiative of protecting the oceans and their inhabitants. When organisations find an injured animal they take care of it and release it back into the ocean when it is ready. Many animal sanctuaries also help conserve animals as, at times, the ocean is not a suitable place to live in for many injured aquatic animals since the water is dirty and has lots of plastic. Luckily, these animals sanctuaries give them a suitable condition to live in and survive. As a result of seeing all this and having animals as representatives for their species, many individuals have now realized the faults done by us, however, we are all still on that learning journey to right past wrongs!


Now, how are we negatively affecting them? Spoiler alert… there’s a lot!


Overfishing

Observers think that illegal and uncontrolled fishing happens in most fisheries and that this makes up to 30% of total catches in some big fisheries. These illegal catches move through dodgy supply chains due to a lack of systems to track fish from catch to consume and import controls in much of the sector.


As a result of overfishing, a phenomenon called fishing down the food web has occurred where, because all larger predators have been erased, smaller fish are being caught. This means that the fish being caught are now at the lower ends of the mean trophic level. For those who haven’t heard of this, the mean trophic level is a data system that categories marine species, with the smallest number, 1, being animals such as plankton and ranging from 2-5 for apex predators.

Habitat Loss

There are many reasons for habitat loss in marine life, like pollution, global warming, climate change and overfishing. Eco-systems are being particularly damaged by humans. Massive habitat loss is occurring particularly in seagrass meadows, mangrove forests and coral reefs, which are all in global decline due to human interference.


Coral reefs are among the more productive and huge ecosystems on the planet, but one-fifth of them have been lost in recent years due to...well again, human interference.


Additionally, 30,000 km2 of seagrass meadows have also been lost during recent decades due to issues such as coastal development and changing water quality. Seagrass ecosystems are really important as they help to provide food and habitats for many marine animals, including dugongs and green sea turtles. Seagrass also acts as a second home to fish found in coral reefs and can also be a nursery type habitat for juvenile fish.

Plastic Pollution

Plastic pollution is another major problem as 8 million tonnes of plastic makes its way into our oceans each year! Over 300 million tons of plastic are produced every year, and 50% of it is produced as single-use products like cups, bags, and packaging. It is estimated that about 150 million metric tonnes of plastic exist in our oceans - that’s almost all the plastic since its invention! Plastic pollution makes up 80% of all ocean debris that we see. Because plastics are light, much of this plastic can be seen on the ocean surface, but still many humans are ignorant and don’t bother to clean the oceans. Plastic trash and particles are now found practically everywhere, on land and in the ocean, coral reefs, beaches, rivers, and estuaries. Larger plastic waste can also be swallowed by marine species, making them feel full when in reality they have eaten nothing of any nutritional value. This can make seagulls, whales, turtles and many other sea animals suffer from starvation due to the plastic in their stomachs.

Right now, if we want a better world to live in for current and future generations, we need to address and understand what we are doing to the environment and what the consequences are. We need to be aware, educate others and do something about these tremendous issues we have caused!


Now, until next time, be safe! Be back with another blog soon!


Neev ^_^


Sources:

https://habitat.fisheries.org/coral-reef-fishes-find-second-home-amongst-sea-grass-meadows/ https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0190370 https://www.marineconservation.org.au/why-coal-and-climate-change-hurt-our-oceans

https://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/overfishing

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_impact_on_marine_life



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