Sabbath 14/8/29/120 B
Scientists from many institutions in Europe and the Americas have cooperated in a major research project. The report published in the journal Science shows that there will be virtually nothing left of sea stocks by the middle of the century if current trends continue. The ABC news report of 3 November concerning the study said that a major contributing factor was the depletion of prawn and shrimp stocks in the basic food chain. The BBC report of the study says that stocks have collapsed in nearly one-third of sea fisheries already, and the rate of decline is accelerating.
They call for a greater use of protected areas to safeguard existing stocks. Boris Worm, of Dalhousie University in Canada, is the research leader. He told the BBC: ”The way we use the oceans is that we hope and assume there will always be another species to exploit after we’ve completely gone through the last one. What we’re highlighting is that there is a finite number of stocks; we have gone through one-third, and we are going to get through the rest” (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6108414.stm).
The ABC also reported that they would all be gone within 42 years, according to the study.
Steve Palumbi, of Stanford University, was also reported as saying that: “Unless we fundamentally change the way we manage all the ocean species together, as working ecosystems, then this century is the last century of wild seafood.”
The scientists drew on four distinct kinds of data.
From the catch records from the open sea there is a picture of declining stocks. “In 2003, 29% of open sea fisheries were in a state of collapse, defined as a decline to less than 10% of their original yield.” (ibid).
Better nets, bigger vessels, and new technology for spotting fish are not bringing bigger returns. The global catch fell by 13%between 1994 and 2003. Not only that, the bottom trawling system is destroying the basic marine sea bottom environment that allows ongoing recovery.
Historical records from coastal zones in North America, Europe and Australia also show declining yields, in step with declining species diversity; these are yields not just of fish, but of other kinds of seafood as well.
We exploit one species and go on to the next and bring it to the brink of extinction and then move onwards to the next.
The resultant biodiversity loss resulting from the collapse of the coastal fishery then sees beach closures, increased algal blooms of harmful algae, increased toxicity and destruction of other fish stocks.
Experiments in small, relatively contained ecosystems showed that reductions in diversity tended to bring reductions in the size and robustness of local fish stocks. The implication is that loss of biodiversity is driving the declines in fish stocks seen in the large-scale studies.
The final section of the data is drawn from the areas where fishing has been banned or heavily restricted. The results show that protection brings back biodiversity within the zone, and restores populations just outside of the zone.
Dr Worm described marine life as being a bit like a house of cards. “All parts of it are integral to the structure; if you remove parts, particularly at the bottom, it’s detrimental to everything on top and threatens the whole structure...And we’re learning that in the oceans, species are very strongly linked to each other - probably more so than on land.”
The study paints a picture of accumulative harm done across the board. A key implication is that more of the oceans should be protected.
Carl Gustaf Lundin, head of the global marine program and IUCN, the World Conservation Union told the BBC that: “The benefits of marine-protected areas are quite clear in a few cases; there’s no doubt that protecting areas leads to a lot more fish and larger fish, and less vulnerability. But you also have good management of marine parks and good management of fisheries. Clearly, fishing should not wreck the ecosystem, bottom trawling being a good example of something which does wreck the ecosystem.”
He said that there was a good compelling case that we should protect biodiversity. He also said that it does pay off in simple monetary terms through fisheries yields.
The loss of the North Sea cod stocks is because the European politicians simply ignore the scientific advice they get year after year. Without a ban, scientists are afraid that North Sea stocks will follow the Grand Banks cod stocks of eastern Canada into apparent terminal decline. Canadian stocks collapsed and they are not coming back, but nobody listens and acts.
The weakness of the study is that it assumes current world environmental conditions. The increasing catastrophes and their impact on the environment will accelerate the collapse.
The problem is very simple to fix. Ever since its inception, CCG has drawn attention to the scientific reason behind the laws God laid down for the management of the ecosystem. God’s Laws work both on land and sea. There are specific laws governing the basic food chain in the sea. These laws are covered in the paper The Food Laws (No. 15).
Crustaceans form the base of the ocean food chain. For that reason they are not to be eaten. They also are not healthy for humans, but the fish that are to be eaten by humans are able to process them as food. The Bible is quire clear that we are not to damage the environment, and there are laws regarding the non-depletion of basic stocks of animal and bird-life, and these rules extend to protect the oceans as well.
There are three basic rules that protect the oceans and rivers.
1. Don’t eat anything that does not have both fins and scales.
2. Don’t pollute the marine environment.
3. Don’t permit overfishing or destructive fishing.
If we followed these simple rules we would have abundant sea stocks at all levels of the food chain.
We don’t do this because no one wants to admit that God is correct, and has
to be obeyed. In a few short years one-third of the oceans will be dead, and
within twenty years the entire marine system will be dead and unable to be used
for any purpose until Christ intervenes to restore it.
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