November 11, 2013 at 10:06 pm #932MikeKeymaster
I’m not a big believer in coincident and I think it is very telling
when one looks at the devastation of our natural world (oh, and our
health)in context of the timeline of Aerosol Spraying aka Weather
Modification:” documented that between 2000 and 2001″” Referring to
the destruction of our oceans.
Come on folks, I know we can not believe it is due to ‘run off’ from
various unprecedented rain-falls.
Data will not prove out global warming, the sharpest peak in the
data regarding global warming occurred in the late 1920
Point is, this is being done without our consent and with no
apparent regard to the future of our health.
Best to you all,
Scientists Fear Oceans on the Cusp Of a Wave of Marine Extinctions
By Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, August 22, 2005; Page A04
BIMINI, The Bahamas — The bulldozers moved slowly at first. Picking
up speed, they pressed forward into a patch of dense mangrove trees
that buckled and splintered like twigs. As the machines moved on,
the pieces drifted out to sea.
Sitting in a small motorboat a few hundred yards offshore on a mid-
July afternoon, Samuel H. Gruber — a University of Miami professor
who has devoted more than two decades to studying the lemon sharks
that breed here — plunged into despondency. The mangroves being
ripped up to build a new resort provide food and protection that the
sharks can’t get in the open ocean, and Gruber fears the worst.
“At the end of my career I get to document the destruction of the
species I’ve been documenting for 20 years,” he lamented as he
watched the bulldozers do their work. “Wonderful.”
Gruber’s sentiments have become increasingly common in recent years
among a growing number of marine biologists, who find themselves
studying species in danger of disappearing. For years, many
scientists and regulators believed the oceans were so vast there was
little risk of marine species dying out. Now, some suspect the world
is on the cusp of what Ellen Pikitch, executive director of the Pew
Institute for Ocean Science, calls “a gathering wave of ocean
Dozens of biologists believe the seas have reached a tipping point,
with scores of species of ocean-dwelling fish, birds and mammals
edging towards extinction. In the past 300 years, researchers have
documented the global extinction of just 21 marine species — and 16
of those extinctions occurred since 1972. Since the 1700s, another
112 species have died out in particular regions, and that trend,
too, has accelerated since the mid-1960s: Nearly two dozen shark
species are on the brink of disappearing, according to the World
Conservation Union, an international coalition of government and
“It’s been a slow-motion disaster,” said Boris Worm, a professor at
Canada’s Dalhousie University who wrote a 2003 study that found that
90 percent of the top predator fish have vanished from the
oceans. “It’s silent and invisible. People don’t imagine this. It
hasn’t captured our imagination, like the rain forest.”
Compared with the many activists who have focused on the plight of
creatures such as the ivory-billed woodpecker and the grizzly bear,
relatively few have taken up the cause of marine species. Ocean
dwellers are harder to track, some produce so many offspring they
can seem invulnerable, and, in the words of Ocean Conservancy shark
fisheries expert Sonja Fordham, often “they’re not very fuzzy.”
Although a number of previous extinctions involved birds and marine
mammals, it is the fate of many fish that now worries experts. The
large-scale industrialization of the fishing industry after World
War II, coupled with a global boom in ocean-front development and a
rise in global temperatures, is causing fish populations to plummet.
“Extinctions happen in the ocean; the fossil record shows that
marine species have disappeared since life began in the sea,” said
Elliott Norse, who heads the Marine Conservation Biology Institute
in Redmond, Wash. “The question is, are humans a major new force
causing marine extinctions? The evidence, and projections scientists
are making, suggest that the answer is yes.”
Large-scale fishing accounts for more than half of the documented
fish extinctions in recent years, Nicholas K. Dulvy, a scientist
while at the University of Newcastle’s School of Marine Science and
Technology in England, wrote in 2003. Destruction of habitats where
fish spawn or feed is responsible for another third. Warmer ocean
temperatures are another threat, as some fish struggle to adapt to
hotter and saltier water that can attract new competitors.
But nothing has pushed marine life closer to the edge of extinction
more than aggressive fishing. Aided by technology — industrial
trawlers and factory ships deploy radar and sonar to scour the seas
with precision and drag nets the size of jumbo jets along the sea
floor — ocean fish catches tripled between 1950 and 1992.
In some cases fishermen have intentionally exploited species until
they died out, such as the New Zealand grayling fish and the
Caribbean monk seal; other species have been accidental victims of
long lines or nets intended for other catches. Over the past two
decades, accidental bycatch alone accounted for an 89 percent
decline in hammerhead sharks in the Northeast Atlantic.
Scientists Fear Oceans on the Cusp Of a Wave of Marine Extinctions
Today, sharks, along with sturgeon and sciaenids (known as croakers
or drums for the sounds they make undersea), are among the most
imperiled of the species that spend most of their lives in the
ocean. Populations of sharks, skates and rays — creatures known as
elasmobranchs that evolved 400 million years ago and have skeletons
of cartilage, not bone — have difficulty rebounding because they
mature slowly and produce few offspring. Shark-fin soup, an Asian
delicacy that sells for more than $100 a bowl, has spurred
intensified shark hunting in recent years.
Despite the sturgeon’s fecundity, a combination of overfishing and
habitat destruction have caused that population to dive as well.
Beluga sturgeon, the source of black caviar, release between 360,000
and 7 million eggs in a single year, Pikitch noted, but they have
declined 90 percent in the past 20 years. Just this month,
scientists in Kazakhstan reported that they failed to find a single
wild, reproducing beluga female, leaving them with no eggs for
Croakers’ large swim bladders, air-holding sacs that help them
maintain buoyancy, account for their imminent demise. Traditional
Chinese medicine prizes the bladders, and the sound they make when
pressed against vibrating muscles can reveal croakers’ location to
fishermen through sonar.
“They’ve been survivors on an evolutionary scale, but they’ve met
their match, and it is us,” said Pikitch, who writes about sharks
and sturgeon in an upcoming book, “State of the Wild 2006.”
Despite scientists’ warnings, American and international authorities
have been slow to protect marine species. The first and only U.S.
saltwater fish to make the protected list is a ray, the smalltooth
sawfish, which was added in 2003.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Fisheries
Service is charged with protecting 61 threatened or endangered
marine species. Director Bill Hogarth said his agency focuses on
protecting vulnerable populations so they won’t have to be listed.
“That’s our job, to make sure species don’t wind up on the
endangered species list,” he said.
But conservationists said NOAA officials are reluctant to classify
fish as endangered because it conflicts with their agency’s mission
of promoting commercial fishing.
Michael Hirshfield, chief scientist at the advocacy group Oceana,
said he has repeatedly seen government officials provide shifting
estimates of how many threatened or endangered sea turtles can
acceptably die each year in eastern scallop fisheries.
“You never get an answer to the question how many turtles would have
to be killed before you would say, ‘That’s not okay,’ ” he said.
On Bimini, just 50 miles from the Florida coast, Gruber is trying
unsuccessfully to stave off the golf resort that could bring 5,000
tourists a day to an island that boasts just 1,600 residents but
supports more than a dozen shark species.
Based on an 11-year survey starting in the mid-90s, Gruber
documented that between 2000 and 2001, during the heaviest dredging
of the ocean floor for the resort’s construction, the survival rate
for lemon sharks fell 30 percent, and sharks in the dredging area
had higher toxin levels. He has yet to assess the impact of the
mangrove destruction, which began on a large scale this year.
The president of the Bimini Bay Resort and Casino, Rafael Reyes,
said he understands the concern but questions Gruber’s statistics
and the idea that “sharks and development don’t mix.”
“We have a vested interest in making sure things remain as they
are,” Reyes said, adding that he is demolishing mangroves in a place
that is “basically not a sensitive area. . . . I have to make sure
the environment’s pristine because my clients are fishermen.”
But Gruber remains unconvinced.
“I believe when I started the ocean was so vast there was no way you
could ever kill off the sharks or anything,” he said. When it comes
to being a fish, he said, “Now you can run, but you can’t hide.”‘)
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