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Sea of Slaughter

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4/7/2011 -- Sea of Slaughter

To make things easy, I will revert to quoting more often now :) Today's snippet from Farley Mowat, "Sea of Slaughter" (in the German edition with a much more ysmad-esque title, something like "The Sinking of Noah's Ark - Of the Animals' Suffering from Mankind").

Here it goes (from the beginning of Part III, "Fish out of Water"):

"Ten years ago, Jacques Cousteau, speaking for those concerned about the future of the living seas, voiced his fears that about a third of the stuff of life in the world's oceans had already been destroyed through man's use of it, or his abuse of it. During the decade since, the situation has worsened. We are now facing the possibility that the seas may become virtual life-deserts in the not-far-distant future. [...] It is only at the risk of undermining our own chances for survival that we can ignore what we have done, and are doing, to the sea-dwellers."

That was 1984. You may say 'SEEEE - these alarmists! Still plenty of fish out there in 2011 - look at your own homepage counter showing the tons of fish being caught!'. But actually the "third of the stuff" destroyed (not a nice word Mr. Mowat chose here) turned into the following today, see our statistics page:

"Almost 75 percent of the planet's fisheries have been classified as either overfished or depleted altogether."
"Most large fish [90 percent] have been fished out of existence."

Parallel to that, we are destroying the nurseries of many fish species:

"Between the early 1980s and 2001, between 19 and 35 percent of the world's mangrove forest area was lost."
"[Mangroves] were reduced by half during the 20th century."
"(...) the world has effectively lost 19% of the original area of coral reefs (...)"
"Caribbean coral reefs are already 80 percent destroyed."

And parallel to that, we are polluting whatever remains (the following is about rivers, but seeing the Gulf of Mexico today there is no reason to be overly optimistic about the state of the Oceans):

"Many river systems approach the fate of those in China, where chiefly because of pollution 80 percent of the 50,000 kilometers of major channels can no longer support fish of any kind."

Today a friend posted on facebook: "Accept something that you cannot change, and you will feel better.". I doubt this helps here, at least not long term. Besides: I think we can change it! :)

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