Beached whales laden with chemicals. Trapped in plastic beer rings are turtles. Oil-covered birds.
Although these pictures are disturbing and dynamic, it is not surprising that our seas and other bodies of water are in danger. Numerous causes, including tourism and global warming, contribute to the diminishing aquatic life standard. We need to glance in the mirror to identify the culprit.
Table of Contents
The 10 greatest dangers facing marine life today are listed below.
One of the major concerns facing marine life today is global warming. Sea levels increase due to glaciers and other ice formations melting due to rising temperatures.
The water has risen 0.13 inches annually over the last two decades, which is twice as fast as it did during the previous eighty years on average. Flooding brought on by rising sea levels damages ecosystems.
Animals like the ringed seal must either find new homes or perish when this happens. Additionally, coral bleaching and changes in migratory patterns are brought on by warmer water. Ocean acidification is a result of global warming as well.
Burning fossil fuels results in the production of carbon dioxide (CO2). A third to a fourth of the CO2 people emit into the atmosphere dissolves in our planet’s seas and turns into carbonic acid.
The oceans’ acidity has increased by 30% over the last 200 years, harming marine life in ways that cannot be reversed.
For instance, greater acidity prevents crabs from correctly developing their shells and reproducing. Coral also perishes from a lack of nutrition as a result. Humans who eat fish and other marine life are also affected by ocean acidification.
3. Runoff from agriculture
Chemicals used in industrial agriculture regularly get up in our rivers and streams. As a result, these dangerous compounds end up in the water, endangering all nearby animals, from tiny shrimp to enormous whales.
Beluga whales that had perished on the shore due to the agricultural runoff had to be handled like hazardous waste.
These harmful substances frequently produce dead zones where the oxygen content is so low that all adjacent life is compelled to move or perish. The size of the current dead zones has increased fourfold since the 1950s.
Oil exploration under the bottom can have severe repercussions. Exxon Valdez and Deepwater Horizon are two instances of oil spills that severely harmed the local marine species.
Contact with the substance can harm reproductive organs, obstruct whale and dolphin blowholes, choke the animals, and irreversibly damage the internal organs of creatures who attempt to lick it off their fur.
Birds’ feathers may also suffer permanent harm from it. Many marine scientists regard oil spills as the primary source of marine contamination.
The consumption of single-use plastic products like bottles and bags by humans is enormous.
It is believed that 8 million tonnes of plastic garbage make their way into our seas and oceans each year due to our throw-away culture, but Greenpeace asserts that the actual number might be as high as 12.7 million. By 2050, if this pattern holds, there will be more plastic in our water than fish.
Many marine animals confuse plastic for food, which either obstructs their lungs and causes them to choke or clogs their stomachs and prevents them from eating real food. Over a million creatures, including fish, turtles, and birds, perish annually as a result of plastic pollution, on average.
One of the worst offenders when it comes to pollution is commercial ships. A large portion of the trash accumulating on cruise ships sinks to the ocean floor. Food, packaging, and cleaning supplies are among these wastes.
The two primary pollutants present in shipping emissions—nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides—also negatively influence the nearby maritime ecosystem in addition to spilling oil and other compounds.
Lastly, large ships frequently collide with whales and other marine life. For instance, every year, more than 90 manatees die in Florida alone as a result of ship collisions.
7.Inaudible Noise Pollution
Marine life can suffer major injury from excessive noise. Loud engines, drilling rigs, military sonar, and onboard entertainment on cruise liners are a few sources of this noise. Sound is essential to marine life’s communication, migration, and foraging.
These actions are disrupted by excessive loudness. For instance, female whales regularly lose out on mating opportunities because they cannot hear their male counterparts singing.
Acoustic pollution also causes harm to internal organs, forced migration, collisions with passing ships, and general anxiety and stress among marine life.
The practice of overfishing, which causes the global decrease of several species, involves taking fish out of their native habitats at a rate considerably quicker than they can reproduce. Over 30% of the world’s fishing grounds have been exhausted.
The fishing technique primarily responsible for this problem is trawling, which involves dragging big nets over the open sea.
Certain marine animal species, such as the Atlantic bluefin tuna, are being targeted so regularly that they are now considered endangered. Simply put, we cannot continue to fish at the current rate.
9. Professional hunting
Humans actively hunt a variety of aquatic animals. For instance, since 1987, Japanese fisherman has killed 200 to 1,200 whales. Because of how ruthlessly they are hunted, shark populations, in particular, have been declining quickly worldwide.
This is due, in part, to shark finning. Fishers only capture them to remove their fins, sold for up to $500 per pound, and used them in the expensive specialty meals like soup.
They are then half-a lively thrown back into the ocean by the anglers. An estimated 100 million sharks are killed each year due to shark finning.
Over the years, a coastal expansion for tourism has seriously harmed various marine habitats, notably seas. When construction companies construct highways and resorts, natural habitats are disrupted, causing local creatures to adapt or perish.
These seaside locations also tend to create more garbage, which frequently makes its way into the ocean due to the high visitor traffic. Additionally, aquatic life is routinely slaughtered so that souvenir stores may offer unique items like jewelry made from tortoise shells, seal fur, and shark teeth.