Earth Day 2012: The Top 5 Threats to Our Oceans, Part One

Apr 20 2012

The tireless and iconic ocean conservationist and activist Sylvia Earle has said that “what we do or fail to do in the next 10 years will have a magnified impact on the next 10,000 years.” This is a call to arms of sorts, a plea to shed ignorance and indifference and learn more about the dangers our oceans face, influencing us all to take positive steps towards helping to heal our oceans, rather than cause them more harm.

To celebrate Earth Day on April 22nd, Seathos is raising awareness of the top five threats our oceans face today: Overfishing, pollution, climate change, ocean acidification and marine habitat loss.

Overfishing

Our oceans are not an endless bounty of food, but they are being treated as such. Currently, 75% of the world’s fishstocks are fished faster than they can reproduce. More than 3.5 billion people depend on the ocean for their primary source of food. In 20 years, this number will double to 7 billion.

Not only does overfishing deplete once thriving marine ecosystems, but it is also has a direct negative impact on the human race as well. Abundant fish populations are vital to the survival of millions of people who depend on seafood production for food and jobs. With a growing human population and dwindling fish stocks, over fishing jeopardizes the livelihoods of many.

Pollution

Trash, chemicals, fertilizers and other harmful contaminants find their way into the ocean every minute of every day. Various factors contribute to water pollution, such as improper disposal of industrial waste, marine dumping, sewage, wastewater and agricultural runoff.

Marine litter is now 60-80% plastic, and can reach 90% in certain areas. Over 100,000 marine mammals and 1,000,000 seabirds die each year from ingesting or becoming entangled in plastic.

Plastic particles, some large, some microscopic, are scattered all throughout the ocean, but perhaps the most startling evidence of marine plastic pollution is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a gyre of marine litter located in the North Pacific. The gyre’s exact size is debatable, but studies have ranged from sizing it between twice the size of Hawaii and as large as the entire continental United States.

Head on over to Seathos’ Earth Day 2012 Campaign page and take part in our 1 for 1 pledge. For every share the page receives the Seathos team will collect 1lb of trash from our local beach in Venice, CA.

Stay tuned for Part Two, highlighting climate change, ocean acidification and marine habitat loss.

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