Entornointeligente.com / Search form Search Main menu Home News Business Sports Columns Contact Us E-Paper EDITORIAL: Protecting jobs and the sea Fri, 06/11/2021 – 4:50am THIS week, the world celebrated World Oceans Day 2021 under the theme, ‘The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods’. Today, people who depend on the sea to live and make a living need the help of governments and other global agencies to survive. The sea around us is also under threat from coastal erosion, pollution, and overfishing, resulting in several species becoming extinct or endangered. Is it too late?
The region’s fishing industry is under siege – climate change, rising sea temperatures and changes in pH levels are contributing to the problem. There are also man-made problems due to overfishing and pollution from runoff. Recently, the local media reported on the impact of cruise ships that dropped their anchor on coral reefs causing significant and long-term damage.
These underground fish nurseries also create oxygen in the atmosphere – reportedly half of the planet’s oxygen. Many of the fish, i.e. Parrotfish, live in these coral reefs and they are integral in the creation of the beautiful sand our locals and visitors enjoy. At the same time, some small-time fishermen catch reef fish, better known as pot fish, as food to sell to the masses. These practices disrupt the fragile marine ecosystem and threaten the livelihood of millions in the region. Other issues include the destruction of the habitat of sea turtles, the impact of the Sargassum, and the invasive nature of species like the lionfish. This combination of events is a recipe for a complete collapse of a vital economy and community.
Protect aquatic life
Organisations like the Pew Charitable Trusts are advocating for better protection of aquatic life. A 2018 article indicated there were plans to prioritise the protection of fish spawning habitats. It is initiatives like this that should be embraced from a regional standpoint. In Barbados, local fish vendors and fishermen have noticed smaller hauls of fish and smaller fish. The local ministry must ensure that while these players in the fishing industry must make a living, they are not slowly sabotaging themselves by jeopardising the vulnerable marine environment.
In addition to the impact on marine life, the sea has become a watery landfill – from plastics to rubber, metal hooks to torn nets, all of which end up inside fish intestines. Similar to the implementation of no plastics on land, policymakers must ensure that those within the industry use eco-friendly and sustainable fishing gear and practices.
Provide infrastructure and financial support
From the fishermen to the fish vendors to the operators and managers of the local markets, all parties should have a clear understanding of their role and how it impacts the industry and the environment. Policymakers also have to provide the infrastructure and financial support, i.e. property insurance, funding for expansion, and personal improvement. There should also be an incentive for young people to enter the industry – creating roles in science and technology with a focus on aquaculture and fisheries science.
Ocean temperatures and climate change and its effects cannot be changed immediately by human actions. But in Barbados and the Caribbean, everyone must understand the impact of their actions on the oceans and marine life. It is predicted that by 2050, there will be more plastics in the sea than fish. This will mean less oxygen, smaller fish, and the threat of climate change – coastal flooding. The wheels are already in motion. But it does not mean that it is too late to change direction or slow down to correct the damage done.
LINK ORIGINAL: Barbados Advocate