By Kendra Pierre-Louis
“Fish populations are declining as oceans warm, putting a key source of food and income at risk for millions of people around the world, according to new research published Thursday.” (in the Journal Science) One scientist is calling this work a break through piece of research.
By Kendra Pierre-Louis
Feb. 28, 2019′ 150 c
“Fish populations are declining as oceans warm, putting a key source of food and income at risk for millions of people around the world, according to new research published Thursday.
The study found that the amount of seafood that humans could sustainably harvest from a wide range of species shrank by 4.1 percent from 1930 to 2010, a casualty of human-caused climate change.
“That 4 percent decline sounds small, but it’s 1.4 million metric tons of fish from 1930 to 2010,” said Chris Free, the lead author of the study, which appears in the journal Science.
Scientists have warned that global warming will put pressure on the world’s food supplies in coming decades. But the new findings — which separate the effects of warming waters from other factors, like overfishing — suggest that climate change is already having a serious impact on seafood.
Fish make up 17 percent of the global population’s intake of animal protein, and as much as 70 percent for people living in some coastal and island countries, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
“Fish provide a vital source of protein for over half of the global population, and some 56 million people worldwide are supported in some way by marine fisheries,” Dr. Free said.
As the oceans have warmed, some regions have been particularly hard-hit. In the northeast Atlantic Ocean and the Sea of Japan, fish populations declined by as much as 35 percent over the period of the study.
“The ecosystems in East Asia have seen some of the largest decline in fisheries productivity,” Dr. Free said. “And that region is home to some of the largest growing human populations and populations that are highly dependent on seafood.” “
By Jim Robbins
Jan. 22, 2019, 24 c
Slow-moving, hulking ships crisscross miles of ocean in a lawn mower pattern, wielding an array of 12 to 48 air guns blasting pressurized air repeatedly into the depths of the ocean.
The sound waves hit the sea floor, penetrating miles into it, and bounce back to the surface, where they are picked up by hydrophones. The acoustic patterns form a three-dimensional map of where oil and gas most likely lie.
The seismic air guns probably produce the loudest noise that humans use regularly underwater, and it is about to become far louder in the Atlantic. As part of the Trump administration’s plans to allow offshore drilling for gas and oil exploration, five companies are in the process of seeking permits to carry out seismic mapping with the air guns all along the Eastern Seaboard, from Central Florida to the Northeast, for the first time in three decades. The surveys haven’t started yet in the Atlantic, but now that the ban on offshore drilling has been lifted, companies can be granted access to explore regions along the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific.
And air guns are now the most common method companies use to map the ocean floor.
“They fire approximately every 10 seconds around the clock for months at a time,” said Douglas Nowacek, a professor of marine conservation technology at Duke University. “They have been detected 4,000 kilometers away. These are huge, huge impacts.”
The prospect of incessant underwater sonic tests is the latest example cited by environmentalists and others of the growing problem of ocean noise, spawning lawsuits against some industries and governments as well as spurring more research into the potential dangers for marine life.
Some scientists say the noises from air guns, ship sonar and general tanker traffic can cause the gradual or even outright death of sea creatures, from the giants to the tiniest — whales, dolphins, fish, squid, octopuses and even plankton. Other effects include impairing animals’ hearing, brain hemorrhaging and the drowning out of communication sounds important for survival, experts say.
The vision that two alumni shared as graduate students for a startup to meaningfully address declining global coral reef health is taking shape on the island of Grand Bahama. The cofounders of Coral Vita, Sam Teicher ’12 B.A., ’15 M.E.M, and Gator Halpern ’15 M.E.M., are opening the world’s first commercial land-based coral farm in the Bahamas. There, they will grow coral up to 50 times faster than in nature by utilizing research from leading coral scientists working with their mission-driven for-profit. Through what is known as “assisted evolution,” they will also enhance the resiliency of corals to help them adapt more quickly to warming and acidifying oceans that threaten coral health.
To launch their pilot farm, Coral Vita has partnered with the Grand Bahama Development Corporation and Grand Bahama Port Authority. They also are receiving significant support from local tourism operators, real estate developers, and the Bahamas’ government, which is eager to find solutions to the widespread loss of the island’s reefs. More than 80% of local reefs have died. These thriving underwater worlds rich in biodiversity are vital to the country’s economy and ecosystem, powering eco-tourism, sustaining critical fisheries, and sheltering coastlines from storm surge. If they are successful in the Bahamas, the cofounders hope to replicate these farms in other coral hotspots around the world.
The timing could not be more urgent. Half of the world’s coral reefs have already been lost to pollution, overfishing, and a phenomenon driven by global warming known as coral bleaching. Arecent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) points to an even more dire future should warming trends continue. The IPCC found that if global warming rises 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, coral reefs will likely decline up to 90% by 2050; if by 2C, 99% of the world’s corals will likely be lost.
“It’s no secret that the world’s coral reefs are in serious trouble, their prospects threatened by everything from climate change to overfishing; in fact, scientists predict that without drastic action nearly all of these dazzling ecosystems could be gone by 2050.But while the prognosis is grim, travellers can play a role in the campaign to save the reefs by changing their behaviour and making informed choices. Here are our tips on how you can help to ensure that these rainforests of the sea – from the Coral Triangle to the Caribbean – can be enjoyed for generations to come.”
Whales are awesome. We have to do what ever it takes to prevent their dying out. There are great pictures and videos and an interesting story in this Intel post.
“The crew members of the Glacier Seal squint lightly as they scan the surface of Alaska’s Frederick Sound. Just a few hundred yards from their ship, the huge gray mass of a humpback whale is breaking the surface with a percussive burst, sending a fine mist into the air as it breathes for the first time in 20 minutes. This is the moment they have been waiting for.
The group is a union of engineers, scientists and conservation experts who are developing new methods for studying these giant animals. They’re part of a collaboration between Intel and Parley for the Oceans, an environmental organization where creators, thinkers and leaders join to raise awareness of the beauty and fragility of the world’s oceans — and work on strategies to end their destruction. Together, they’re starting in this remote coastal region of Southeast Alaska where they’ll test novel tools for fieldwork: a system of high-tech aerial drones and artificial intelligence software from Intel, all of which is affectionately called SnotBot. The team will use these tools to both track the whales remotely and take samples of the snot they blow out when taking a breath (hence its name). In the process, they hope to gauge the health of the cetaceans and the oceans they live in.”