Maybe you’ve heard about the crisis in kelp worldwide. It has been disappearing at warp speed as climate change and urchin proliferation have destroyed nearly 90% of the world’s kelp forests. Take a look at this article and see what some are doing to offer a solution to this problem.
The following comes from Hakai Magazine in Vancouver, BC. It’s reassuring to learn just how rigorous the research is that points us in the right direction for next steps in protecting and preserving our oceans’ marine life.
Ask any environmental scientist about their biggest challenge and many of them will tell you—or at least, many of them have told me—that it’s not always getting the data, it’s processing it. Acousticians scrub through thousands of hours of hydrophone recordings for a few precious seconds of whale song. Oceanographers parse endless temperature and salinity logs from monitoring buoys to find trends. It’s astounding how often science’s rate-limiting step is just dealing with all the information.
The University of British Columbia’s Sea Around Us initiative has just compiled a mind-blowing volume of data on fish stocks around the world. They measured species biomass since 1950 and looked specifically at how much of the fish that people like to eat is actually in the ocean. This scope of study is valuable, and this one draws a pretty clear picture: we’re decimating most of our favorite fish.
The group used computer-based statistical methods to assess over 1,000 populations of 483 fishes and invertebrates humans find delicious and found 82 percent of these populations had dwindled beyond what can support maximum levels of fishing. Some places were worse than others, but with such big data the overall trend is clear.
Next comes the question of policy. Catch limits and protected areas can help stocks recover. Implementing them, however, can be tricky. Sustainable aquaculture can alleviate fishing pressure, too. But whatever comes next, the first step in any solution is getting a clear picture of the problem. Now, there are some good numbers to lean on.
So this week, let’s give a shout-out to the researchers, students, and everyone everywhere crunching numbers and weeding through and making sense of the deluge of information out there. Without them, we’d be far more in the dark about the problems, and solutions, of our world.
Staff researcher and writer for Hakai Magazine
Article by Seth Borenstein of the Associated Press
“This could mean a lot of problems to many species.”
Here’s a great article calling all of us who live on or visit the Oregon Coast. With budget and staffing cuts due to Covid-19, we can step up and help protect and preserve the coastal places we love and use.
Cleaning up litter is nothing new since we have had a great group of volunteers doing cleanups regularly. But with the pandemic still going strong, it’s a good reminder to those of us out on the beaches regularly to bring a bag with us and pitch in to fill the shortage of staff.
If you want to know more about one of the keystone species in our rocky shores habitat, read the following article from Olympia Washington’s Works in Progress newsletter. To me it underscores the fact that there are so many things we can and must do to protect and to restore the environment we depend upon for our futures.