The general health of the ocean’s ecosystems and all of its diverse marine life is deeply affected by our day-to-day choices and habits. Fortunately, though the situation is grim, we can combat the worsening issue by listening to the professionals in marine conservation fields. There are several significant ways in which we impact our ocean negatively, such as pollution, fishing techniques, and rampant consumerism.
The most widely recognized detriment to the ocean is pollution, and that’s because we emit a lot of it. Everything we do, from using our phones to eating a burger, even taking a hot shower, creates carbon emissions. The ocean is equipped to absorb only two-thirds of these emissions. A surplus of Co2 causes the ocean to turn acidic. That is what we face now. The change in pH kills fish, mammals, plant-life, and other marine dwellers.
The fishing industry has devastating repercussions on the ocean and all marine species. Large enterprises use several different techniques to reel in the most product, and all of them cause lasting damage. The following list describes some of these dangerous practices:
Trawls are fishing nets that dragged across the ocean floors. These nets are widely used, even in coral reef and more treacherous areas of the ocean floor. In certain areas, like southern Australia, 90% of previous coral growth is now gone. In most cases, this kind of damage doesn’t heal in a year’s time. This displaces marine species from their natural homes and separates them from their food sources.
This method uses sodium cyanide to stun fish but not kill them, making it easier to catch and use them in aquariums or sell them at seafood restaurants. It’s been an issue since the 1960s, but cyanide fishing has increased significantly in the past few decades. It’s a practice that kills both fish and their habitat.
Dynamite fishing is devastating to all marine species. Fishermen set off dynamite explosives under water to kill fish, bring them to the surface, and collect them in mass. The practice wreaks havoc on the ocean, turning it into a war zone. It destroys habitats and kills without discretion.
Ghost fishing is an unfortunate result of careless fishing tactics. Often, fishing equipment like rods, hooks, and nets are lost or left behind by fishermen. The unaccounted for equipment ends up killing wildlife like turtles, whales, dolphins, sharks, and other fish. The official damage of ghost fishing hasn’t been calculated, but it’s estimated that a quarter of the trash on the ocean floor is fishing equipment.
Worldwide over consumption is negatively impacting our oceans. The way we order our clothes, toys, and furniture off the internet has caused a huge boost in the shipping industry. These container ships and carrier vessels cause smog, acoustic pollution, and even hit and kill whales.
Besides the shipping industry and our over-consumption, our daily transportation causes problems. The oil we need to power our cars means we need massive oil rigs in the ocean. Oil rigs leak, and it’s even likely that we will encounter another disaster like the explosion in the Gulf of Mexico.
Not only are we inadvertently causing damage to the ocean by shipping excess goods and drilling for oil for cars, but our generation also consumes extreme amounts of fish and sushi. The United Nations Environment Programme predicts that fisheries will collapse by 2050 because there will be nothing left to catch.
Protecting Ocean Tips
Though human impacts marine life, there are many simple habits that we can adopt to begin protecting the ocean. These marine conservation tips prove that anyone can do their share to protect our bodies of water.
- Eat less meat
- Skip the sushi
- Turn off the lights
- Use less hot water
- Use green energy
- Ride your bike more
- Buy less stuff
- Advocate for your ocean
- Speak out
Human impacts marine life and the troubling state of our oceans is a serious problem, but it is not irreversible. It is still possible to heal and replenish our marine species and leave our children and grandchildren with a better planet. We have to move forward with a clear plan because it isn’t just marine animals that suffer. We all rely on the ocean to live. It generates half of the world’s oxygen, and it absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Without the ocean, climate change will only worsen and humans will struggle to survive.