Green Times (Jun. 2014) - Page 4

4

Well, the main environmental issue faced is global warming, most other issues are linked with global warming. But what global warming and bycatch?

Global Warming

Sea levels are rising and oceans are becoming warmer. Longer, more intense droughts threaten crops, wildlife and freshwater supplies. From polar bears in the Arctic to marine turtles off the coast of Africa, our planet’s diversity of life is at risk from the changing climate.

Greenhouses gases, such as carbon dioxide, trap heat in the atmosphere and regulate our climate. These gases exist naturally, but humans add more carbon dioxide by burning fossil fuels for energy (coal, oil, and natural gas) and by clearing forests. Greenhouse gases act like a blanket. The thicker the blanket, the warmer our planet becomes. At the same time, the Earth’s oceans are also absorbing some of this extra carbon dioxide, making them more acidic and less hospitable for sea life.

Video on climate change:

Bycatch

Wherever there is fishing, there is bycatch—the incidental capture of non-target species such as dolphins, marine turtles and seabirds. Thousands of miles of nets and lines are set in the world's oceans each day. Modern fishing gear, often undetectable by sight and extremely strong, is very efficient at catching the desired fish species—as well as anything else in its path. A staggering amount of marine life—including turtles, dolphins and juvenile fish—is hauled up with the catch, and then discarded overboard dead or dying.

Bycatch occurs because modern fishing gear is very efficient, often covers an extensive area, and can be highly unselective—it catches not only the target species but many other marine animals as well. Poor fisheries management in certain countries further contributes to the problem. Widespread pirate fishing ignores regulations on net mesh sizes, quotas, permitted fishing areas and other bycatch mitigation measures.

Video on bycatch

What's happening