The situation facing our oceans affects all of us, as we all depend on them for our survival. It is both worrying and depressing at first sight, but it is a situation that can be rectified through each of us making the decision to live in a way that restores the oceans to their natural and beautiful state.
This page introduces some of the critical facts and at the end of the page there are links to recommended reports and websites for more detailed information on specialist areas. Please also look at our “Links” page for films and documentaries that will enlighten you further.
We hope that this will persuade you of the importance to make the decision to become a Beautiful Wave Maker!
Waves of Destruction
Many people are under the misconception that the rainforests provide our planetary atmosphere, but in fact it is our Oceans that are the lungs of our planet, producing over 50% of the oxygen that we breathe.
Pollution, global warming and other man-made problems (over-fishing and habitat destruction) are pushing the world’s oceans to the brink of disaster.
We are now facing a mass extinction of marine life unprecedented in tens of millions of years.
The rate at which carbon is being absorbed by the ocean is already far greater than at the time of the last globally significant mass extinctions.
Less than 1% of our oceans are protected.
80% of Ocean Pollution is caused by our land based activity.
Governments are fully aware of all of the problems however they are slow to move. People can move quickly and are free to change and act as the custodians of our oceans.
Key Facts & Vital Statistics
There are 5 Gyres in the world’s oceans…..swirling islands of plastic.
One of the Gyres is twice the size of Texas or 6 times the size of the UK.
Plastic never goes away; it only decreases in size into tiny harmful pieces. It kills over 100 million sea birds a year, countless fish and sea mammals.
We produce 300 million tonnes of plastic per year – 50% thrown away after a single use.
500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide each year – about one million bags every minute.
There is now 6 times more plastic in the ocean than plankton, the main base of the food chain.
Hundreds of billions of plastic particles are contaminating our oceans and entering the food chain
Harmful chemicals leached by plastics are already present in the bloodstream and tissues of almost every one of us, including newborns.
Bottom trawls drag heavily weighted nets along the ocean floor in search of fish or crustaceans in a practice akin to clear-cutting a forest in order to catch a rabbit.
Centuries-old habitats such as coral gardens are destroyed in an instant by bottom trawls, pulverized into barren plains. Endangered sea turtles drown on long-line hooks while sharks have their fins sliced from their bodies, which are then tossed overboard.
The mouth of the largest trawling net used to catch fish is big enough to contain 13 Boeing 747 airplanes, nothing stands a chance of survival.
Approximately 90% of the ocean’s large fish have been consumed.
If we fail to change large-scale fishing practices now, it is estimated that stocks of all the fish we eat will have crashed by 2048.
Between 30% – 50% of all fish caught are destroyed and thrown back into the ocean as waste. This is due to fishing regulations and large-scale fishing techniques. The by-catch includes turtles, dolphins and whales.
Fish farming, or ‘aquaculture’, uses more fish than it produces. Approximately 5kg of anchovies are required to farm 1kg of salmon.
Fish farms pollute the seafloor when concentrated fish waste is dropped from the open-water pens. This waste carpets the seafloor, snuffing out oxygen and marine life.
The degeneration in the oceans is happening much faster than scientists first predicted.
Carbon dioxide is making our oceans warmer and more acidic. As a result, corals and other creatures at the base of the ocean food chains have trouble forming shells. Without a drastic reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, many of the world’s coral reefs will disappear and entire ocean ecosystems may collapse.
All coral reefs could be gone by 2050 unless we make serious changes.
Three major factors that have been present in past extinctions are present today including: an increase of both hypoxia (low oxygen) and anoxia (lack of oxygen that creates “dead zones”) in the oceans, as well as warming and acidification.
A high-level international workshop convened by IPSO met at the University of Oxford earlier this year. It was the first inter-disciplinary international meeting of marine scientists of its kind and was designed to consider the cumulative impact of multiple stressors on the ocean, including warming, acidification, and overfishing.
The 27 participants from 18 organisations in 6 countries produced a grave assessment of current threats — and a stark conclusion about future risks to marine and human life if the current trajectory of damage continues: that the world’s ocean is at high risk of entering a phase of extinction of marine species unprecedented in human history.
Short summary http://www.stateoftheocean.org/pdfs/1806_IPSOshort.pdf
Full length summary report http://www.stateoftheocean.org/pdfs/1906_IPSO-LONG.pdfcreate a wave