Oceans at risk


Difficult to face, our oceans are at risk and fish species are diminishing and in delicate, extremely fragile condition.

Landmark papers, monumental in scope by Thor Heyerdahl, “How To Kill An Ocean,”published in 1975, and E. O. Wilson’s “Is Humanity Suicidal,” both men scientific heavyweights outlined serious problems rushing upon us, tsunami in scope. There is no lack of valid scientific studies since then by teams of researchers from numerous countries including American, British, Canadian and Russian.

As outlined in the New York Times in two editorials, one as recent as Sunday, Feb. 16, not a single square foot of ocean has been left untouched by modern society. Polluting run-off from a multiplicity of sources, overfishing, ruthless bottom trawling, social groupings of spawning fish wiped out never to recover all these and more have contributed to the problems of tragically collapsing fish numbers.

I have personally fished in south Florida since 1939 and in the Keys since 1956 and fish declining numbers and ecological destruction have been indescribable and precipitously sliding steeply downhill.

One of the few bright spots has been the rapidly increasing numbers of “marine-protected-areas,” 87 of these off 40 different countries.

They have to be large enough, protected enough and meet other well managed criteria to be effective. This is a tough call here in the Keys, for me and my commercial fisher and sport fisher friends. We are all passionate about our fishing. Large areas have to be off limits and protected or our fish will surely perish as did the cod off New England putting thousands of people out of work.

So far it appears for the foreseeable future. The reality is the Sanctuary people in their planning of “marine preserves” have it mostly correct. We can cooperate and have hope or resist to what end other than eventual decimation of our cherished marine living resources.

Jerry Weinstock

Key West

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