The world is a fishbowl. Really.
According to NOAA, 71% of the world’s surface is covered in ocean. Those oceans are filled with 20,000 species of fish, 1500 species of jellyfish, 131 species of marine mammals, 7 species of marine turtles, and more species of coral than scientists can count.
Yup. The world is a fishbowl.
A threatened fishbowl. The oceans are full of animals that have adapted to challenges for millions and millions of years – and that are dying out at human hands.
Or human nets, more accurately. Vegan or no, best fishing practices is a concern across the board. Too many of current fishing practices prove harmful for the fish populations and for the other animals that live alongside them.
Drift nets catch sea lions instead of sardines. Dredges catch octopi instead of oysters. Shrimp nets catch sea turtles.
And then there’s the environmental havoc that human habits wreak on the environment. Seahorses are threatened because wetlands are disappearing. Sharks are under attack so exotic restaurants can serve soup. The oceans are heating up because people won’t take two seconds to unplug a lamp. Hotter oceans mean dying coral, a keystone species. Hotter oceans are also a problem for polar bears, another keystone species. Don’t get me wrong, polar bears can take the heat – the San Diego zoo has already proven that the white wonders are just as happy in warm water as they are in cold. We just need to stop melting their damn ice floes. Polar ice caps, polar bears – y’all get the connection. The Coca Cola mascots migrate through the ice floes, swimming from one to the next.
The problem comes when suddenly there aren’t enough ice floes because so many have melted. It would be like taking a flight from the Midwest to Antarctica with a layover in South America – and suddenly South America goes missing. There’s a lot of ocean between you and the landing strip, and odds are you don’t have enough fuel to get you there.
So. Enough doom and destruction. The good news is, whether you eat fish or not, there are things you can do help them. And the marine mammals. And the sea turtles.
Monterey Bay Aquarium has a brilliant website compiled to hook people up with whatever conservation method is their style – learn the facts, carry around a pocket guide to sustainable sea food or download the app, write letters and read literature, whatever you’re moved to do.
But please, do something. Time is melting.