I was sitting on Sennen Beach in Cornwall a few days ago talking with an old friend. Old in that I have known him a long time as well as old in that he is 80 this year. We were looking at the spectacular bay in front of us with its huge array of different blues from the water. There were quite a few small groups of gulls rafting on the mirror still water. The occasional Gannet would make a dive into the clear water to catch any unwary fish.
I mentioned how sad it was to see so few birds the last few years. My friend, who had first come to the beach in the late 1970’s recalled the hundreds of Gannets that would fish constantly for the huge shoals of Sand Eels that darkened the shallow waters with their great numbers. He talked about the shoals of Mullet that would share the same waters and the small beach anchored nets that would occasionally be hauled in to give an abundance of sea food to local families. He mentioned the 150 or so Dolphins that would regularly fish and play in the bay. How they loved to plough through and over the waves when the wind was strong and the sun was full. He talked about the great Basking Sharks coming into the shallows among the summer holiday makers to feed on the plankton……He talked then about how most of it was gone. We, people, had simply killed it. There are still the occasional three or four Dolphins that come to visit. The Basking Sharks also appear occasionally. The fish though are not to be seen.
We can sit and read articles like this and just say to ourselves, ‘What a shame’, or we can try to do something about saving what is left, perhaps even bringing species back from the edge of extinction. If nothing else, at least we can help by putting our names to petitions that support other people’s actions. It doesn’t matter if the issues are the other side of the world; we are all on the same planet and in the end actions, taken somewhere, will finally have an effect on you, wherever you are. Take a moment to look at the petition at the end of this post from MISSION BLUE – The Sylvia Earle Alliance.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
In a fantastic event last night at the Seattle Aquarium, Sylvia Earle and Greenpeace’s Phil Radford announced the Bering Sea Canyons as the official 19th Hope Spot. The event attracted a large turnout and impassioned speeches in defence of the new Hope Spot. Moreover, a bonafide airship was in play to promote the event!
The Bering Sea isn’t just chilly…it’s also super cool: these 770,000 square miles of tempestuous waters off the coast of Alaska and Siberia are home to immense populations of fish, seabirds, marine mammals and ancient corals, as well as the Bering Sea Canyons, the largest and deepest submarine canyons in the world — larger than the Grand Canyon. This rich ecosystem has supported indigenous tribes for thousands of years and currently provides over half the seafood caught in the United States.
If half the total US catch sounds like a lot, that’s because it is. Sadly, under this enormous commercial pressure, the Bering Sea is in decline. Since the 1960’s, the region has seen steep declines in top predators — i.e. whales, sea lions, seals — with some populations dipping by over 80 percent of historic levels. Moreover, trawling nets are decimating ancient corals and sponges in the deep canyons, which are critical to the ecosystem and are hundreds to thousands of years old.
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The Bering Sea was a rich ecosystem of harmony, and now it faces collapse due to the pressures of industrial fishing. The North Pacific Fishery Management Council is the steward of these precious waters and, as such, they must protect the sensitive habitats, so the Bering Sea can continue to be a flourishing ocean ecosystem into the future. With the global ocean in a general decline, the preservation of the Bering Sea as a Marine Protected Area — or Hope Spot — is critical.
Please join your voice in this cause. Sign the Greenpeace petition to help protect the Bering Sea Canyons and reach out to support in any way you can.