This post is for my brother a fisherman.
The other day I was standing at a fish counter in the market, and I thought to myself I am not looking at a display of the ocean’s bounty, it’s a Museum – by the end of this century many of these animals may be history, due to man’s reckless abuse of the planet.
I counted ten types of bivalves – creatures like clams, oysters and mussels that use calcium carbonate to make their endlessly varied shells that will be in twenty years in some parts of the world, entirely gone.
Luckily prawns, shrimp, and crabs make their shell out of polymer called chitin, so the rapidly acidifying waters of our oceans won’t dissolve them as it does the bivalves. however the fastest change in the ocean chemistry in 300 million years will change them.
As my brother will tell you the Spaniards eat more fish than anyone else in Europe, monk-fish, hake,sardines,tuna, all of which are on the at-risk list, because of over-fishing or change in the food that supply them, or is it more likely that they will be replaced by the bigger threat of the changing ocean bio-geochemistry.
We now have dead zones that have being multiplying. The emptiest places on the planet. These places have little or no life other than bacteria.
They are caused by one of the worlds must pressing problems climate change.
Our oceans are gobbling up carbon dioxide that is reducing the Ph in their waters. In pre-industrial times the pH was in the region of 8.2 and it is now estimated by the year 2100 it will be as low as 7.7 the lowest in 55 million years.
You might think so what I won’t be around. You would be wrong.
This acidification of the Oceans is already effecting Coral reef which are vital to 25% of all marine life not to mention the 4,000 species of fish that start out from such reefs.
This February 10 million scallops were wiped out of the coast of British Columbia.
All forms of Plankton the base food for every animal living in the sea is already on the way out. Their death produces toxins that kill fish, creating dead zones with over 400 recorded around the world to date. For example the Mississippi Delta, and large sections of the Baltic Sea ( A third of the sea life is dead in the Baltic) is now like the Black Sea a hypoxic area.
If we don’t stop the pollution of our Oceans and Seas there will be only Jelly Fish that enjoy acidification on the tables of Fish Markets of the not so distant future.
Lets hope the Spaniards don’t like them.