Updated: Jul 16
Although many people are unaware, or just not interested, the oceans are an extremely important factor to life and survival on earth. Not only is it a significant resource for humans in terms of food, but it is also home to millions of different species. However, there are many factors that play a role in keeping our oceans protected. Unfortunately, right now, our oceans are facing many struggles that can negatively impact them now, and in the future.
Many marine biologists believe that overfishing is the most harmful impact humans make on the oceans. By catching fish faster than they are able to breed, we are destroying entire ecosystems. Ecosystems become more sensitive to additional disturbances, such as pollution, as a result of these losses. Species that depend on fish for survival will be left to starve due to overfishing. We are taking food from these marine animals in too large of numbers for all of them to get their fill. This can result in a huge wipeout of these species, as well as many others that depend on these fish for survival.
Despite the fact that many people believe weakening sharks is beneficial, what they fail to realize is that it is actually more negatively affecting the oceans. Destroying these top predators can cause extreme consequences that disrupt the food chain. Every year, between 50 and 100 million sharks are killed, either as bycatch from fishing fleets or as direct targets for their dorsal fins, which are used in a costly soup popular across Asia. The sharks are finned and then put back into the water, usually still alive but badly injured, and oftentimes they bleed to death. Sharks are top-of-the-food-chain predators, meaning they have a slow reproduction rate. Overfishing has a hard time restoring their numbers. Furthermore, their predatory status aids in the regulation of other species populations. When a major predator is removed from the equation, species lower on the food chain tend to overpopulate their area, resulting in a disastrous downward ecosystem spiral.
Although it should be obvious, garbage is one of the most crucial factors that are destroying our oceans. It is actually unbelievable how much trash ends up in our oceans. Animals can quickly become entangled and stuck in human waste. This can harm delicate aquatic life such as coral and sponges. Additionally, marine turtles and dolphins frequently confuse plastic bags for their favorite food, jellyfish and squids, causing them to choke or clog their digestive systems. If that wasn't awful enough, the Pacific Ocean's trash vortex, which is bigger than Texas, and its smaller cousin in the Atlantic, should serve as a wake-up call. Oh, and let's not forget about the massive stretch of plastic soup in the center of the Pacific Ocean.
There are countless other issues regarding our oceans that are not mentioned here and that should be addressed. Meanwhile, it is important that we start taking into consideration how harmful human activity can be for our environment and all of the creatures in it.