The health of marine life and the ocean are usually taken for granted. Because of the increase in population and wasteful practices, the ocean is now vulnerable to harm by human activities just like any other environmental realm. It may be hard to see all life that is below water, but preserving the ocean is one of the most environmental challenges people face today.
You should note that three-quarters of the earth is covered by oceans. They offer a home for many animal species and regulate the global temperature. This is the reason why it’s crucial to have marine conservation programs. This article discusses everything you should know about marine conservation.
Understanding global warming and ocean
No doubt, oceans play a significant role when it comes to the global climate system. They absorb large quantities of carbon dioxide and produce about half of all oxygen. The ocean’s surface layer can absorb and distribute the heat that reaches the earth from the sun. This can control the weather and global temperatures. These processes also play a huge role in slowing global warming, though there is a limit the oceans can do.
Unfortunately, human activities are now threatening the condition of the oceans. Some studies have indicated that land-based activities contribute to at least 80 percent of marine pollution. This includes coral bleaching, sea level rise, and whole marine ecosystems are quickly changing.
Besides, global warming is causing changes in ocean chemistry and most oceanic processes. It is also threatening most marine animal species that are failing to withstand the higher temperatures. Overfishing is another serious problem in most parts of the world. This is the reason why many conservationists are advocating creating marine reserves so that they can protect the oceans’ biodiversity.
The limit of carbon dioxide and heat that the oceans can absorb is rapidly reaching, leading to spikes in ocean temperatures. Warmer seas can melt the ice around the poles, leading to rising sea levels. As a result, this puts communities and coastal environments at risk. Also, when the ocean absorbs carbon dioxide from the air, it dissolves into carbonic acid which increases the water’s acidity levels. The change in the levels of acid tends to disrupt marine environments and animals across the globe.
The benefits of marine conservation
The oceans have almost everything, such as microscopic life and the largest animals. They are also an important part of the earth’s ecosystem as they are a good source of biodiversity, life, and food. Studies have shown that almost 40 percent of the earth’s population lives within 100kms of the coast. Therefore, good management of the resources of the ocean is important in making sure that there is global food security.
Aquaculture and fisheries employ millions of people. Further, most people are usually employed in follow-up activities like handling, processing, and distribution. Fishing and fish farming is supporting the families and livelihoods of many people across the globe. Therefore, marine conservation can ensure that these people are still employed in the years to come.
Oceans are also a crucial source of food. They keep 80 percent of the earth’s biodiversity, and are the biggest ecosystem on the planet. Fish is a good source of animal protein to billions of people. Take note that only a couple of species provide marine capture fisheries and aquaculture production.
As explained earlier, oceans can regulate the climate. They can absorb a quarter of the carbon dioxide that people put into the atmosphere. Therefore, they are a carbon sink, though their ability to absorb more carbon is quite limited. At least 90 percent of the extra heat due to global warming is kept in the oceans. Without the oceans offering this service, and the cooling and heating effects of ocean currents, temperatures around the world can be too unstable to support living things.
As the ocean is heated by the rays from the sun, water from the ocean’s surface evaporates and condenses to create clouds, which is part of the water cycle. As a result, the rains and drinking water are made. It also contributes to thunderstorms, wind, and hurricanes, and assists to create the monsoon rains that many people rely on.
Saving the ocean
You can decide to reduce your carbon footprint. This refers to the amount of dangerous greenhouse gas that humans create by reducing certain activities. For example, you can choose to travel on foot rather than by car.
Overfishing is also an ocean conservation problem that reduces the amount of fish in the oceans. Therefore, you need to lower the demand for fish species that are caught improperly by choosing to purchase seafood that is caught responsibly.
Plastic is also a major concern to marine life, but you can stop their effects by utilizing fewer plastic products. For instance, it’s a good idea to have a reusable water bottle, store your food in non-disposable containers, and carry a reusable cloth bag while shopping.
If you have a pet, then you should consider switching their diet that includes a more seafood-sustainable one. And, when you want to dispose of cat litter, you should avoid flushing it because it has some things that can harm marine life. It’s also crucial to avoid releasing aquarium fish into any body of water, such as oceans. This is because it can introduce fish species that may not survive certain ecosystems.
If you like visiting the beach regularly, then ensure that you clean up and avoid leaving any rubbish lying around. It’s a good idea to explore your surroundings, but you should not interfere with any wildlife, coral, or rocks that you find.
In conclusion, it’s unfortunate that human activities are now putting the oceans in danger. Overfishing is decreasing fish populations, changing marine food webs, and threatening the supply of food. Climate change as well as its related impacts like ocean acidification is having an impact on the survival of most marine species. Therefore, it’s the responsibility of each person and businesses to make sure that they adopt the right marine conservation programs. This is the only way marine life can survive in the long run.