Coral reefs have been in global decline because of us humans. Global warming and ocean acidification, are the main reasons, ¿how, you might ask?
With more and more green house gas emissions released to the atmosphere, due to our civilization's way of living, fueled mainly on fossils and based on a feeding system that relies on industrial farming (meat, dairy and fishing industries), and if you add on top of this, the massive deforestation currently happening around the globe, the result is the elevation of the planet's temperature including the oceans, and the loss of entire ecosystems.
source: https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2019/11/15/how-much- would-giving-up-meat-help-the-environment
Oceans and coral reefs serve as natural filters; nature is very wise and it is prepared to deal with challenges, however oceans are battling to filter these huge amounts of toxic emissions, and at the same time dealing with the massive problem of plastic and chemicals released directly and indirectly into them; we are literally suffocating our oceans.
Another main reason coral reefs are in decline is overfishing, an industry that is massively unregulated and that is wiping out fish from oceans at a very disturbing pace; fish that is so very important to coral reefs for their strong mutual dependencies.
Fishes benefit from coral reefs, they get shelter and food from them, but they are not the only ones that benefit from this relationship, corals benefit from fishes in so many ways, for example corals get nutrients from fish excretions that help them grow; or even coral diseases can be mitigated by fishes.
With that said, is no surprise coral reefs health around the world is declining at a very alarming rate. Some regions, like the Caribbean have lost over 80% of coral and they've lost more than half of fish species.
Residual waters from industrial farming is filled with fertilizers and chemicals. That includes fish farms in the ocean, this type of farming is creating dead zones in the ocean, meaning the levels of oxygen are not good enough for life to thrive, which ends up killing and wiping out marine life and coral reefs. They are also spreading disease, parasites, virus, and the list continue, increasing the risk of infection of wild fish.
If we don't change our eating and consumerism habits now to more sustainable options, we will be damaging and destroying one of the most important ecosystem of all.
It's very important to recognize that this change does not apply to the communities of humans that rely entirely on fishing for them and their families to eat and generate an income to support them, their way of living is a trade they've been taught from their ancestors and passed along from generation to generation.
However, if you are reading this, you most lightly have the privilege and possibilities to make significant changes to your diet. We are the ones that need to do better and stop financing industrial fishing.Please understand that we simply cannot exist with dead oceans.
We want to share what we've learned with you and what we see each day on the water, so let us know your thoughts on this post on the comments below. :)
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