Dr. Boris Worm: Marine Ecosystems Severely Threatened

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Richard Moore

Mar 11, 2009, 2:17:56 PM3/11/09
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Marine Ecosystems Severely Threatened by Overfishing: 
Exclusive Interview with Marine Biologist Dr. Boris Worm

(NaturalNews) Every corner of the Earth's oceans has been impacted by commercial fishing, and many commercial fisheries are now in a state of collapse, warns Dr. Boris Worm, a prominent marine biologist and primary author of a peer-reviewed paper published in Science entitled, Impacts of Biodiversity Loss on Ocean Ecosystem Services(http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/conte...) (Science, November 2006: Vol. 314. no. 5800, pp. 787 - 790).

The plundering of the world's seafood populations is not sustainable, warns Dr. Worm in this exclusive interview withNaturalNews editor Mike Adams. The rapid depletion of important predator species like sharks -- combined with the loss of slow-growing marine mammals such as whales -- is causing a dangerous imbalance in the sustainability of ocean life.

From the commercial harvesting of krill to the cruel practice of "finning" sharks, humans are impacting marineecosystems in a short-sighted and dangerous way, warns Dr. Worm.

The full interview (approx. 45 minutes) is available for downloading right now from NaturalNews:http://www.naturalnews.com/Index-Po... (Health Ranger Show #73).

Not all the news about commercial fishing of the world's oceans is bad news, however. Dr. Worm points to some important success stories of sustainable commercial fishing operations (including certain aquaculture farms), and he urges consumers to inform themselves about the origins of seafood so that they might make better decisions when buying seafood at the grocery store or ordering it at restaurants.

At the same time, Dr. Worm warns listeners that unless these success stories are embraced and applied across the board, much of the seafood humans now catch and consume could be virtually nonexistent by the year 2050.

Important words from Dr. Boris Worm

Here is a quick summary of the most important points heard in this interview with Dr. Worm:

• Human activity is now dominating the circumstances and destruction of many marine species.

• A decline of 90% of the population of many marine species has been documented.

• Fisheries around the world are now in serious trouble; changes are needed quickly to reverse the decline of marine species.

• There are ways of solving the problem, and there are success stories in sustainable fishing. We must learn from these success stories and apply them globally if we hope to prevent further declines in the populations of marine animals.

• Global fishing could be virtually wiped out by 2050 if drastic changes are not made in sustainable fishing practices.

• Ocean ecosystems have reached a limit where humans are taking too much out while dumping too much waste into the oceans.

• Overfishing is the largest single impact on marine ecosystems today.

• Overfishing is now spreading from coastal areas to the deep sea.

• There is no ocean on the planet that has not been impacted by commercial fishing.

• The fishing of sharks is a great threat to marine ecosystems. The practice of "finning" sharks is devastating shark populations and ultimately upsetting the natural balance of the web of life in our world's oceans. 

• Shark protection groups you should know about include: Shark Alliance (www.SharkAlliance.org), Longitude 181 (www.Longitude181.com) (French), Oceana (www.Oceana.org), The Ocean Conservancy (www.OceanConservancy.org), Greenpeace (www.Greenpeace.org).

• The Antarctic ecosystem has been changed greatly by commercial fishing and the removal of whales.

• Consumer Choice cards are available at the Monterey Bay Aquarium (www.MontereyBayAquarium.org) that teach consumers which fish are unsustainable (such as Chilean Sea Bass or Orange Roughy) and should therefore be avoided by consumers.

• Commercial fishing operations invent new names of fish to replace traditional names that aren't very marketable. The "Slime Head Fish" was re-named to "Orange Roughy" to make it more palatable to consumers, for example.

• In the EU, ocean products must be properly labeled with their true name (scientific name) and place of origin. In the U.S., no such labeling laws currently exist.

• The Marine Stewardship Council certifies the eco-sustainability of fisheries. It is a globally-recognized and well-trusted eco-certification authority. (www.MSC.org)

• Commercial fishing of krill (a "foundation species") is "very risky" to the delicate marine ecosystems of the Antarctic and can "compromise the entire ecosystem."

• "There is good evidence that recent declines in the number of penguins around Antarctica is linked to the diminishing supply of krill," says Dr. Boris Worm.

• It is absolutely true that there are millions of tons of floating plastic debris in the Pacific ocean which is resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of birds and marine animals each year.

• "There is no doubt that the amount of trash in the ocean is a major contributor to mortality in mammals, fishes and seabirds."

• It's true that cruise ships still dump many types of garbage directly into the ocean. Dumping plastic is banned, but military vessels are exempt from such provisions and may regularly dump plastics directly into the ocean.

• There is currently virtually no enforcement of dumping restrictions on any ocean-faring vessels. Essentially, any ship can dump practically anything directly into the ocean.

• When aquaculture farming uses wild-caught fish to feed farmed predatory fish, it is very wasteful and damaging toocean ecosystems. But when aquaculture farming is pursued with marine species that feed on plants or phytoplankton, it is the most sustainable, ideal way to produce seafood.

• Tuna aquaculture farming is extremely inefficient, running at a 10-to-1 ratio (ten pounds of fish fed to the tuna for every pound of tuna produced).

• Tilapia is typically produced in an environmentally-friendly way, using mostly plants as the feed source.

• Aquaculture mussels are a sustainable choice, as they are not taking resources away from the marine ecosystems.

• Fish that are fed other fish in aquaculture farms tend to function as pollutant concentrators, collecting heavy metals and other toxic chemicals in their flesh.

• Want to protect the marine ecosystem? Educate yourself about sustainable sources of seafood and change what you buy at the grocery store or order at a restaurant to avoid buying unsustainably-harvested seafood.

• A good website for royalty-free ocean conservation photos is MarinePhotoBank.org

• Another great website for learning about sustainable seafood is www.SeafoodChoices.org

• Scientists have a very important role in making decisions about creating a more abundant, sustainable future. Scientists need to be allowed to practice good science and engage in public conversations about what they're finding, without political censorship.

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