sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Video Gallery Photo Gallery

 

Sail-World.com : Science summit cites fishing, warming and pollution as hazards

Science summit cites fishing, warming and pollution as hazards

'Tropical coral reefs are under pressure from a suite of global and local stressors. Photo courtesy of Jeff Maynard.'    ARC Centre of Excellence Coral Reef Studies ©    Click Here to view large photo

Global warming, overfishing and plastic pollution are wreaking havoc at an unprecedented rate on marine life, reported scientists at a recent meeting of the International Program on the State of the Ocean (IPSO).

The three-day workshop, co-sponsored by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), looked at the latest science across different disciplines.

The 27 participants from 18 organisations from six countries produced a grave assessment of current threats and one conclusion: that the world's ocean is at high risk of entering a phase of extinction of marine species unprecedented in human history.

The impacts of climate change — acidifying oceans, coral bleaching and habitat loss — are the biggest cause of decline in ocean health, and the hardest to solve.

Global warming will 'swamp everything,' said Tony Pitcher, a professor of fisheries from the University of British Columbia who attended the meeting. 'The effects are all around … If we don't do something quickly, the oceans in 50 years won't look like they do today.'

The workshop brought together 27 scientists from six countries and represents the first time in at least a decade when experts from separate fields — geochemists, geophysicists, pollution experts, fishery biologists and climate change scientists — gathered to share their assessment of the oceans.

'These people don't usually talk to each other very much so getting them together ... was quite a special occasion,' said Pitcher.

Marine Scientists gathered at Oxford -  .. ©  


Climate scientists continue to report that atmospheric levels of CO2 are rising at an accelerated rate, spelling trouble for the oceans. Seas absorb the heat-trapping gas, which makes them more acidic.

Acidity of the world's oceans has increased 30 percent since the Industrial Revolution, said Bärbel Hönisch, a professor of earth science at Columbia University who did not attend the workshop. Ocean acidification stresses corals, shellfish and other organisms with effects that ripple through the marine food chain.

Adding to that ocean stress is overfishing, the IPSO assessment said. The large and long-lived species in fisheries worldwide — and in the South China Seas in particular — are 'virtually fished out,' Pitcher explained.

When added together, conditions may be ripe for the next great extinction similar to the five mass extinctions that have occurred throughout Earth history. 'That was the comparison that was made,' said Pitcher. 'Certainly the rate of change in the chemistry of the oceans is greater than in some of the ancient extinctions.'

Hönisch was more cautious. We won't wipe out ocean life, she predicted, but toxic algal blooms will thrive in the absence of large fish and other organisms threatened by extinction.

Climate change is the oceans' greatest threat, said Daniel Pauly, a fisheries professor from the University of British Columbia who also attended the seminar.

As oceans heat up, there is less mixing of warm water near the sea surface and colder water near the bottom, he told SolveClimate News. That decreases the amount of available oxygen in the water column; less oxygen means less life overall.

Coral reefs are particularly vulnerable, said Alex Rogers, lead author of the IPSO report and professor of conservation biology at the University of Oxford.

Coral reefs are the most diverse ecosystems in the ocean housing millions of species, Rogers told SolveClimate News. They provide ecosystem services such as food, coastal protection. Dying coral reefs don't just destroy ecosystems: Reefs protect coastlines by reducing storm surge and erosion.

Many of the atolls in Polynesia and Micronesia are made of corals, said Sheppard. In healthy corals, the growth of new limestone outpaces natural erosion of the coral. When the reefs die off, the islands will erode away.

'Corals are among the most threatened organisms on the planet,' said Pitcher. Between the bleaching, overfishing, the dynamiting of coral reefs to kill fish and mining of coral for construction material, 'corals will probably disappear from the planet in 40 years,' he said. 'It's kind of scary when you think that 200 million people depend on coral reefs for their livelihoods.'

Poor countries that rely on fish as their main protein source — and which are expected to be hardest hit by climate change — are most at risk, said Rogers.

Developing nations in the tropics also face overfished seas, while surviving fish in these regions are moving to cooler waters as the climate warms.

Compared to climate change, overfishing is relatively easy to solve, said Pitcher. Canada and the U.S. are among the better countries in terms of fisheries management. Both nations use quotas to limit their catch, but their management methods need to be improved, he said.

'Fisheries are about managing people rather than fish,' said Pitcher. The UN has a voluntary code of conduct for responsible fisheries that takes into account aspects of sustainability. Fishers who use bottom trawlers, for instance, would score lower than those who use regular nets.

In addition, said Pitcher, most governments only survey the populations of fish that humans eat. 'But fish live in a natural ecosystem,' he said. 'They eat things. and things eat them,' adding that it's important to also monitor the health of non-marketable fish.

Pauly supports the expansion of marine reserves where fishing is banned. Only about 1 percent of the seas are protected, he said, versus 10 percent of continents in the form of national parks and other reserves.

'We accept that there must be [protected] parks on land. We don't conceive the need for that in the water. When [scientists] say we need 10 percent of the oceans protected, you get a howl from the fishing industry.'

Most fish stocks live in 'exclusive economic zones,' said Pauly — designated areas for signatory countries of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea that allow fishing and mining within 200 miles of their coastlines. These coastal areas make up 40 percent of the oceans.

Countries are reluctant to create marine reserves, largely because 'we cannot wrap our minds around the oceans being fragile and inaccessible to us,' he said. 'The fishing industry isn't perceived as something that can change the structure of life in the ocean … Most people picture fishermen going out in small boats to brave the elements.'

In reality, giant commercial trawlers are responsible for 40 to 60 percent of the world's catch. The scale and might of these trawlers compared to the fish is 'like hunting rabbits with tanks,' said Pauly.

'Fisheries' problems are relatively cheap to fix,' said Pauly. But if we keep stalling, he warned: 'It's going to be a problem that's not fixable.'

Check out a clip from the summit


More at www.stateoftheocean.org




by Jeni Bone

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=85329

12:14 PM Thu 30 Jun 2011 GMT






Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.


News - USA and the World























































Belcher and Ryan lead from the start in Hyeres by Rob Kothe and the Sail-World Team,












ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres: Anticipation intensifies as start nears
Clipper Round the World Race - Race 11 start images by Chuck Lantz
27th Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta 2014 - Big breeze on the butterfly
Rolex China Sea Race 2014 - Pryde and Joy for Hi Fi
Clipper Round The World Race - A flying start on Day 1 of Race 11
Cammas on Caudrelier – different styles, same objective
Clipper Race - Californian crew member continues fundraising journey
Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta - Race 2 images by Jude Robertson
Les Voiles de St Barth - Images by Christophe Jouany
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - Fleet sets sail in race 11
Congressional Cup - Canfield and Team US One best star-studded field
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - Race 11 to get underway to Panama
Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta - Race 1 images by Jude Robertson
Rolex China Sea Race - Hi Fi collects the coveted IRC Overall title
Rolex China Sea Race - First arrivals in Subic Bay
Rolex China Sea Race 2014 - a sniff of a hat-trick for Neil Pryde
America's Cup Book Review: Winging It - Oracle Team USA's comeback *Feature
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race: Switzerland drops trou for charity
Rolex China Sea Race 2014 - nip and tuck for IRC honours
Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta - 27th edition underway
Rolex China Sea Race - Ragamuffin 90 claims line honours victory   
Saturday June 21st will feature the 39th One More time Regatta   
Rolex China Sea Race - Ragamuffin 90 extends unassailable lead   
Rolex China Sea Race - Commanding lead for Ragamuffin   
Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta - An amazing fleet of traditional yachts   
Bell's Beer Bayview Mackinac Race - Freshwater adventure on tap   
Why the 49er class is pushing hard to get finals format changed +Video   
Alpari World Match Racing Tour: Can Williams surpass Gilmour's record?   
Coastal Cup sets sail from Alameda June 11   
PWA Cold Hawaii World Cup - Massive support from the local community   
Les Voiles de St. Barth - Weather factors in + Video   
HUD Vision: An interview with Afterguard Marine’s Alex Moret *Feature   
ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres - US Sailing Team ready for action   
Volvo Ocean Race - Dongfeng Race Team first official qualifier   
Springtime boat buyers need to take care of a few key things   
ISAF Match Race Rankings for 16 April 2014   
ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres – World’s best to race on French Riviera   
Rolex China Sea Race – Fleet off to a clean start   
America's Cup: Expected de Ridder penalty should be reduced *Feature   
World Youth Sailing Week – Second edition officially presented + Video   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
X6XL NEW US