With oceans covering nearly 71% of the earths’ surface, should we give more consideration to ocean sustainability? From iconic documentaries such as the award-winning BBC documentary, Blue Planet II, individuals are becoming increasingly aware of the impact their consumption habits are having on the oceans. 14 million people watched the first episode on BBC One in the UK! This has given the public an insight into some of the key issues of ocean sustainability including microplastics and the issues surrounding over fishing.
Did you wash your hair this morning? Drive to work today? Plan to wash your clothes tomorrow? From microbeads, tyre abrasion and synthetic textiles, little did you know how much impact YOU (yes just one person!) are having on our oceans? If we can already see the impact in the oceans just imagine what the effects to sea life will be when we have 9 billion people on the planet by 2050.
The other consistent issue to face in our oceans since the industrial revolution is overfishing. From the depletion of fish stocks in the North Sea in the 1960’s and 1970’s, to the decline in the numbers of Antarctic Krill since the 1940’s, over fishing is an obvious sign of ocean mismanagement. Between 1950 and 1990, fish catch increased four-fold, with 79 million tonnes in catches in 2011, just shy of the maximum sustainable catch limit of 84 million tonnes. This shows that we can not count on wild fish stocks to sustainably supply population growth in the way it has over the past decades.
Despite focusing on the above areas, it should be noted there are additional issues, such as increasing ocean acidification and waste disposal which also should be focused upon.
Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed it!
Rebecca & Michael
McNamara, K.E., 2014. The global casino: an introduction to environmental issues, Fifth edition. Chapter 6, pp113-136
Halpern, B.S., Frazier, M., Potapenko, J., Casey, K.S., Koenig, K., Longo, C., Lowndes, J.S., Rockwood, R.C., Selig, E.R., Selkoe, K.A. and Walbridge, S., 2015. Spatial and temporal changes in cumulative human impacts on the world’s ocean. Nature communications, 6. https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms8615
Boucher, J. and Friot, D., 2017. Primary microplastics in the oceans: a global evaluation of sources. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland. https://portals.iucn.org/library/sites/library/files/documents/2017-002.pdf