The Mayans were wrong. The new date? 2048.
New research is showing that by the year 2048, all of the oceans will be empty of fish. Due to climate change, pollution, loss of habitat and most especially over fishing the world’s fish population will be extinct.
A combined team of ecologists and economists have all agreed that this depletion will have devastating effect on the world’s population. Lead by Boris Worm, PhD, of Dalhousie University and fellow colleagues originally began the study to determine what the economic effect would be with a complete loss of the world’s fish.
Their Unpleasant Surprise:
When all the data was finally analyzed, even Dr. Worms was amazed and horrified. The trends in the data was unmistakable, the effect would be more devastating than even the world’s leading experts had previously predicted.
What researchers like Dr. Nicola Beaumont of the U.K based Plymouth Marine Laboratory found was the proof that they needed that this is happening now. It was no longer only a prediction, the world’s oceans were being rapidly depleted of fish.
Dr. Beaumont went on to say, “If biodiversity continues to decline, the marine environment will not be able to sustain our lives as well.” What this means is that mankind can expect to see a devastating loss of one of their main food supplies.
It is more than that:
Research gathered from the international scientific community shows that there currently a 90% drop in population in 29% of the edible fish consumed on the planet. This means that the world’s oceans will not be able to support much of our established way of life.
It is not only food that we get from the oceans, but the ocean’s living creatures also helps to protect our shorelines, filter out many of the harmful toxins, and help to prevent occurs of “red tide”. (This frightening sight occurs when algae is allowed to bloom unrestricted.)
Seas Becoming Deserts:
The UN Food and Agricultural Organization is warning that not only is over fishing depleting the oceans, it is turning these beautiful bodies of water into deserts.
Over trawling, in specific bottom trawling are destroying entire eco systems in these waters. The UN points to the Mediterranean and North Seas which are now virtual wastelands.
These same fishing fleets have their sights set on the West African Seas which are now quickly becoming over exploited. In reply, the UN Under-secretary General, Achim Steiner said that the governments around the world need to take notice and responsibility for their own shorelines and fish populations.
The Fishing Industry:
What many researchers and scientists are wondering is if the fishing industry is receiving this message. They are, responds Steven Murawski. As the chief scientist for the National Marine Fisheries Service, he believes that the recent findings are too pessimistic the fishing industry will continue to help reverse the decline in fish populations. One of the main reasons why the industry believes these predictions to be too pessimistic is that the U.S., in particular has not yet suffered a dramatic decrease.
Stacey Viera points out that the industry is already beginning to address this issue by utilizing more and more farmed fish. As the spokeswoman for the industry, she points out that the fishing industry realized years ago that they would have to supplement the ocean’s fish supply with farm raised fish.
Scientists Don’t Agree:
Stanford University professor, Stephen R. Palumbi disagrees with Ms. Viera. He compares using farmed fish to save the oceans to opening the windows to help the air conditioning. He, along with Jane Lubchenco, a marine biologist at Oregon State University agree that even with other options for consumers the world’s fish population continues to be in trouble.
The End of the World:
Scientists in the United States are worried. They believe the general population does not yet understand the cataclysmic effect a general depopulation of the world’s oceans will mean. After all, says Professor Lubchenco, the grocery stores are still full of frozen fish.
Over 200 million people are at risk of losing their jobs, says Gerald Leape. As the vice president for the National Environmental Trust, he oversaw $80 billion last year through the fishing industry. Its collapse would mean certain global financial crisis, one in which the world has never seen before.
Should people be scared? The answer is yes. Over a billion people eat seafood as their main source of protein, without their main dietary staple, starvation and other nutritional problems are certain.
There Is Hope:
At the University of Washington, Professor Ray Hilborn believes that the situation is not completely hopeless. Beginning with countries discontinuing providing close to $20 billion a year to harmful fishing industries.
The year 2048 does not have to be the end of the world, but if things do not change with the world’s oceans, it just might be.