Thursday, February 14, 2013

Hope for the Ocean and its Resources

The "high seas" are certainly spoilt and polluted; certainly in no way comparable to the oceanic treasure house left to us a century ago, or even before the production of plastic waste. The GOC (Global Ocean Commission) is a multinational platform for political celebrities. To manage the earth's oceans, it has just been set up to prevent abuse of the sea's resources. The PEW Group and others must be congratulated for helping put this apparently powerful apparatus into operation.

While the organisation it replaces, UNCLOS, was put in place 30 years ago, it was never able to progress as fast as new technologies that helped remove so much from the waters. Biodiversity is at risk, prospecting is unlimited on the high seas and illegal fishing seems to have national support in many cases. On these oceans, we have 45% of the globe's surface, being stripped of all they possess. The whale "fishing" currently taking place, shark finning, turtle use and cod wars are all scenarios in which GOC must observe, work and conclude with decisions including useful recommendations. - With Teeth ! - as sharp as the Great White.

While Sea Shepherd has fought, literally at times, for the lives of thousands of whales that the Japanese fleet attempt to "fish" illegally, some are at odds with them. Avoid the Japanese argument of "pure" research - for the restaurant table! That does not mean forbidding Faroe islanders and Inuits from eating whale-meat and hunting them.

While some Japanese eat whale and dolphin, they have no cultural need to. It reeks of the Chinese use of anything penile to extend their sex life. There is no evidence whatsoever that such myths are true and even if they were, that is no excuse for causing extinctions. The Japanese seem to think it's clever to eat something rare in the same way. A drastic rethink has taken place in the mind of some Japanese people, I trust.

Shark finning again lays the blame at the door of the same people, so it's better to concentrate on what other nations have perpetrated in the past. Europeans have overfished since the time of the vicious old "Cod Wars" with Iceland. Now, we have an empty North Sea, a highly-polluted Mediterranean and rivers which for a time had no salmon at all.

In America, countries had a pristine land, but the Great Lakes illustrate what we can do to destroy even large water bodies. Pollution can be summed up worldwide by that Great Plastic Gyre in the middle of the Pacific. We really need to replace it with gigantic marine reserves, about the size of the Pacific Ocean!

Further controversy is bound to erupt on the food security issues. So many islanders and coastal inhabitants rely on sea-food to subsist. With pollution and over-fishing to deal with, we have starvation issues to think about, apart from the availability, access and distribution problems so many people have.

Extinction, starvation and pollution are strong words. We need strong actions to counter such eventualities, from strong minds inside the brains of real political animals. Let's hope such people have been chosen well.

Source: Earth Times

Image courtesy of ahisgett via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)