Vitbar192 ® 20-Jul-2020 13:45

The empty ocean - plundering the world's marine life


Year: 2003
Language: english
Author: Ellis R.
Genre: History
Publisher: Island Press/Shearwater Books
Edition: 2nd
ISBN: 1559639741
Format: PDF
Quality: Scanned pages
Pages count: 385
Description: Oh.... You cannot read this book without feeling like you are being butchered - but for every knife Ellis stabbed in me over the stupidity of human's unsustainable quest for all things oceanic, millions and probably trillions of oceanic animals die heedlessly.
I picked up this book because I usually get concerned when I hear of things human's are doing which are blatently wreckless and not sustainable. To be in South America and learn that the Patagonia Toothfish is going extinct, anochivies are being taken out of the ocean at high rates to feed farmed fish and Norwegians taking the northern Atlantic Salmon down to be farmed in the Chilean fjords where Salmon do not exist.. All of these things spelled disaster to me - and I picked all of that up on a tourist holiday down there!
But to read Ellis' book and learn of the true extent of the catastrophic collapse of oceanic ecosystems is a real eye opener. For at least 4 centuries now - that is FOUR HUNDRED YEARS - fishermen have been going out and catching insustainable amounts of fish. Cod... Salmon.. Whales... Shellfish... entire populations have collapsed - maybe not the first year they do it, but certainly within a few years or decades at most. And yet fishermen go on begging governments for larger and larger quota's - and keep being granted them, despite not only overwhelming scientific evidence - but their own empty nets are evidence - that their practices are unsustainable and if they don't stop fishing for that creature, there may soon be no fish to catch at all. Frequently, its when there are no fish, that the fisherman finally stop. Too little too late. Why is it we worry when we can see a dramatic drop in some charasmatic land-based megafauna and take action, but not when the drop is in oceanic life???
And then Ellis goes onto to point out that most of the death toll is due to modern fishing methods where nearly 70% of all caught by these methods is euphamistically called 'by-catch' and basically dies. But that is not restricted to the fish and the fish becoming extinct - it also includes marine turtles, ocean birds, seals, otters...
I cannot envision anything more frustrating than being a marine scientist, who is quite capable of presenting overwhelming evidence to support the steep and severe decline in just about every marine animal we know of.. and have the world so indifferent to it. The world should be hysterical over the decline in marine life, not quibbling and squabbling over regulating the amount of one gas in the atmosphere, something which we may tinker with, and still not know the effect on the environment for decades. But we can focus on our oceans NOW and try to at least save some of the species which are nearly extinct of extinct. Just as canniness has been applied to improving catch, there are some solutions which allow less bycatch - but they have to be implemented globally.
There is no doubt a mass extinction is going on right now, and there is no doubt man is causing it. After reading the book, you will probably agree that the majority of the mass extinction is going on under the deep blue waters of the ocean though - not on the surface of the planet. If we worry about our lands becoming bland with only a few fauna that are favoured by man, our oceans are going to be bleak and desolate in a few decades if something isn't done.
This book should be required reading for everyone who wants an environmental cause which action can have an IMMEDIATE effect - not one which takes decades to measure. This is a book which gives a face to the cold-blooded creatures of the ocean and its a boo which will break your heart.

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