Ocean of Life makes case for ocean action
Brussels, 28nd June 2012. In his new book Ocean of Life, the renowned marine biologist Callum Roberts has made the case for urgent action to protect and restore the global marine environment – painting a gloomy picture but one, that he argues, can be corrected.
The book explores multiple problems that our oceans are having to contend with such as overfishing, pollution and climate change.
Some astonishing facts are reported, such as the case of the Laysan albatross - a bird that in some instances flies thousands of miles across the Pacific to gather food for their young, only to bring back meals of plastic trash. The result being the inevitable starvation of chicks living on a literal junk food diet.
On fisheries, Roberts documents the colossal impact that overfishing has had, highlighting for instance the effect of the UK bottom trawl fleet that now lands only half the fish today that it did when records began in 1889.
He also reports on how European politicians have disregarded scientific advice over the past 25 years by setting annual fishing quotas a third higher than recommended as safe by their scientists, driving many fish stocks toward collapse.
And on climate change, the picture looks particularly gloomy as Roberts shows how the oceans around us are changing faster than at any time in human history and probably since the cataclysm that destroyed the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.
However, Roberts also gives an optimistic outlook, signalling that the oceans’ demise can be corrected and in the case of overfishing, he indicates that it is probably the world’s biggest soluble environmental problem: One where we know what to do and if we were to act decisively, it could take only 15 years to fix most of what has gone wrong.
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