The sea is so vast and life in it is so abundant that we humans used to think it had infinite resources for the taking. After centuries of harvesting from the oceans of the world, we have finally learned that there is a limit to how much we can take, and how much we need to leave behind. We have also learned much about some of the more endangered species out there. Now we know that we just can’t keep taking from the ocean. We need to give as well. These are some stories of people who realize that, and are working to save some of the sea’s more susceptible species.
Fueled by the Chinese appetite for fish that swim in the same Sea of Cortez waters, the vaquita is one of the world’s most endangered animals. With an estimated three dozen left alive, Mexican officials are embarking on a highly risky venture. They plan on capturing and breeding some of the few remaining vaquitas left. The problem is that the species has never been successfully bred in captivity. Could this well-meaning project actually serve to hasten the vaquitas demise?
It is fairly common knowledge by now for most outdoor savvy people that coral reefs around the world are suffering. Warmer water temperatures along with increased pollution (among other factors) have contributed to the demise of many otherwise healthy reef systems around the planet. Case in point, the most famous reef of all, the Great Barrier Reef off of New Zealand, is reported to be almost completely dead. What can we do to stop this terrible predicament? Luckily there are many conservation groups working on the problem. In this story, we learn about a technique of rebuilding coral reefs by transplantation.
From CostaRicaTurtles.com: “Sea Turtles are ancient creatures. Some scientists say they are over 110 million years old, while others claim their lineage goes back 140 million years. They were here before the dinosaurs roamed the planet. And yet today all species are on the IUCN (World Conservation Union) Red List meaning they are facing a high risk of global extinction. The United States Endangered Species Act (ESA) also places sea turtles species as endangered. In addition and unfortunately, scientists believe that leatherback sea turtles could be facing extinction in as little as ten years. Save the Turtles, Inc, stands humbled by these gentle creatures and works towards their survival.”
It’s fairly easy to see why tuna (especially Bluefin) are in such high demand. They are exciting to catch and delicious to eat! And with the price a Bluefin goes for in the Japanese market, it is a no-brainer as to why they are a prized catch. However, due to its immense appeal, Pacific bluefin tuna are in trouble. Because of years and years of overfishing, the iconic fish’s population hovers at a precarious 3% of its original size. Conservationists say attempts at curbing overfishing have failed, so they propose a two year moratorium on commercial fishing for this species.