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You may not be too familiar with the term marine, or ocean conservation, it is a term that encompasses all efforts to maintain the natural ecosystems of our oceans. But there are a few things you should know about why such efforts are taking place.
Endangered, Or Extinct Species
The efforts of anti whaling activists, such as sea shepherd, and the general damnation of it in media, have brought a lot of negative attention to the whaling industry. The dolphin hunting industry of select countries, is perhaps the one that has awoken the most worldwide public outrage. For example in the aftermath of the 2009 movie “The Cove”.
But there are plenty of less famous species that are on the verge of extinction. Trying to maintain , or regain, balance in the ecosystems so they can repopulate, is an example of species conservation. For example by declaring sanctuary and stopping fishing and development in an area.
Overfishing is a worldwide problem that long-term can result in not only the collapse of an industry, but a completely different spectrum of life in the world’s oceans. There are many coastal communities that rely heavily on the ocean, with fish and seafood as their main food supply. Environmental and even social repercussions are the topic of some debate, but preventative measures are widely recommended.
Invasive Or Alien Species
Another problem is where alien species, as in non-native species that have been brought to an area by humans, completely takes over the environment, and proceeds to eliminate the natural competition. An example for both this, and overfishing, is lake Victoria, where the introduction of alien species, the Nile perch in particular, but also the Nile tilapia, in combination with overfishing, has resulted in the extinction or near disappearance of many fish species that were exclusive to lake Victoria. Because of the small volume of water compared to the oceans of the world, it can serve as a warning as to what can happen unless action is taken.
Coastal areas near fishing cities, beaches where the undisturbed swimming of tourists is prioritized, you name it. There are countless ways in which we are forcefully changing the habitat of ocean dwellers, and it’s consequences vary from species forced to find a different habitat, becoming invading competition to already established species in another habitat, or simply, extinction. Habitat loss results not only from the
direct results of illicit fishing techniques and development, but also, climate change.
As you may know, the rising temperature is causing the glaciers to melt, putting established cities under the risk for submersion for which countermeasures are actively pursued. But it also puts existing shallow ocean habitats and estuaries at risk. The increased acidity of the water, a result of increased carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, can limit the fertility of plankton, an organism said to be vital in the process of making the planet habitable for human life.
Anything from toxic chemicals dumped directly, or through rivers, to seemingly harmless bits of plastic, the pollution of the ocean has many faces. The results vary from toxins poisoning fish and seafood, in turn poisoning people upon consumption, to large amounts of plastic waste effecting the ecosystem in a negative way. Mammals and other species can mistake the plastic for food, and suffer the consequences. Species that are limited to certain areas due to the lack of mobility, can latch onto drifting debris and attack species in completely different parts of the world.
While there exists a myth about a huge “garbage island” in the Pacific ocean, larger than the size of Texas. The reality is that there are large “garbage patches” that consists mostly of small pieces, with varied concentration. They are estimated to stretch across up to 5000 square kilometers. A way to minimize growth would be to
Ocean, or marine, conservation is the effort to stop these things from taking place, as well as trying to revert the damage that has already been done. The oceans are home to millions of species, it would be a shame to let short-sightedness ruin that.
Credits to scuba-blog