Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Our seas our changing, for the worst

Below is a copy of an email I have received from Save our Marine Life, an organisation fighting for the creation of marine parks in Australia, and which I strongly recommend supporting.

This testimonial is one of many that have witnessed an evolution of their local marine environment over time, and for the worst.

I’ve received this letter from 87 year old Martin Flynn and wanted you to see it.
Schools of kingfish

Dear Tim,
I have lived my whole life by the sea and I want to tell you about the changes I’ve seen.

My name is Martin. I was born in 1924 and have lived in Bunbury, WA, since I was three. Growing up, my brothers and I would spend many a day swimming and fishing around town. We would pack our lunch in a sugar bag and cycle off for the day.

When I think back, I remember the sense of freedom and the certainty we all felt that wherever we chose to stop, a wonderful array of healthy fish would be swimming past. There were all types of fish: tailor, dhufish, snapper, amongst others, and they were all big, healthy fish.

We would also ride over to the Skeleton Bridge - where Koombana Bay meets the Leschenault Inlet – and as the water flowed under the bridge we would see large numbers of healthy, big fish swimming by.
Another favourite pastime was crabbing, and all we would need was the ability to scoop up the crabs as the estuary was teeming with them

I am now 87 years old. I have always loved the ocean and would swim and walk the beach most days throughout my life until my ability to walk too far got the better of me.

I have watched with great sadness over the years the demise of the healthy stocks of fish I remember from the childhood, and feel hopeful that this idea for marine sanctuaries along the coast may be one way where we can restore the balance.

I have a great respect for the ocean and the estuaries, and I have some wonderful memories of swimming, fishing and crabbing here in Bunbury throughout my life.

It would make my day to know that the diversity of marine life that I remember from my childhood has a chance to restore itself through the implementation of marine sanctuaries.

Yours Sincerely,
Martin Flynn
Bunbury, WA

How one company may destroy the entire marine eco-system

The below article is reblogged from

There are too many similar cases that normal people, you and me, are not aware of. Thank you Grist for raising awareness on this issue.
Omega Protein, Inc. (a company you've never heard of) is quickly overfishing the Atlantic menhaden (a species you've never heard of). As a result, a number of fish that you have heard of -- striped bass, bluefish, tuna, dolphin, seatrout, and mackerel -- as well as the ocean ecosystem as a whole, the Chesapeake Bay, and the Long Island Sound (which you’ve heard of) are suffering.

Menhaden are tiny, bony, oily fish that humans can't eat, but which, according to marine scientists, are "the most important fish in the sea." Menhaden are the main consumers of phytoplankton, and without them, areas like the Chesapeake Bay and Long Island Sound are clogged with algae. They are also a staple food for bigger, tastier fish, who, deprived of menhaden, are growing sad and malnourished.

In the past 25 years, the menhaden population has shrunk from 160 billion to about 20 billion, Alison Fairbrother and Randy Fertel report for Gilt Taste. (If you haven't heard of THAT, it's Ruth Reichl's post-Gourmet project.) This despite the fact that at this point, only one state -- Virginia -- allows menhaden fishing. And in Virginia, only one company -- Omega Protein -- is responsible for "menhaden reduction" -- cooking, grinding up, and selling the fish once they've been extracted from the ocean. The reduction goes into products like livestock feed, pet food, oils for cosmetics, and those disgusting fish oil supplements someone convinced us we should all take in order to get enough Omega-3.

If you're disturbed and worried by this whole situation, too f*cking bad. Gov. Bob McDonnell isn't (Omega Protein has given his campaigns more than $55,000), and he has made it known that he'll veto any bill that protects the fish.
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