RESOURCE-RICH OR RESOURCE-POOR OCEAN?
Our ocean, which is abundant in resources, provides life and sustenance to all of us. Despite its richness of resources, it is today controversial whether it is a resource-rich or resource-poor ocean due to man-made pollution and degradation. Let’s take a closer look at this major concern.
Humans rely on seas and oceans for two essential resources: food and energy.
Even though fish and seafood are beneficial for our health and also provide nourishment, these resources are frequently overexploited.
The world’s fisheries productivity expanded considerably between 1950 and 1990. The need to feed an ever-increasing population is unavoidable. However, since 1990, global fishing production has been stagnant as a result of overfishing, with some species, such as bluefin tuna, in jeopardy of extinction. The advancement of modern technology has reduced the chances of fish slipping through the net. Fish are becoming scarce due to an increase in the number of boats and their tonnage, as well as improved fishing techniques. The majority of European fisheries are overfished.
Rich countries, on the other hand, are looking for abundant stocks. For the past two decades, Europe’s appetite for fish has been increasing. Not only are European Union fisheries attempting to extract more and more from marine ecosystems, but governments are also entering into agreements with other countries to purchase access rights to their waters so that their fleets can fish there. France, Spain, and Portugal are the most common negotiators with states in West Africa, the Indian Ocean, and the Pacific. Aside from the European Union, China, the United States, Japan, and other wealthy countries follow suit to fulfil their home markets.
Global rules have been established to protect both nations and stocks in an effort to manage ocean resources sustainably. Each coastal country has its own exclusive economic zone (EEZ) (Exclusive Economic Zone). Some quotas impose maximum capture numbers per species on fishermen, and some fisheries, such as bluefin tuna, have been suspended or curtailed, although there are always those who break the rules and abuse the system to harm our ocean.
Offshore drilling accounts for 22% of global oil reserves, 37% of global natural gas reserves, and 30% of global oil output. Oil-consuming countries realized how reliant they were on the Persian Gulf countries and started to invest in offshore oil production. In light of recent findings, it is now thought that the China Sea and the Arctic Ocean could become tomorrow’s oil fields.
The high expense of technology required for offshore hydrocarbon exploitation has allowed large Western oil firms such as Shell and Total to share the market in these areas for a long time. These major corporations have lost their monopoly and must now rely on national enterprises from developing and developing countries.
Transportation If the sea represents the channel of transportation, trade, and international connections in both the literal and figurative senses, it is also damaged by these transports that are unconcerned about its well-being.
The rise of international trade has been fueled by maritime transit. It is responsible for the majority of goods trade. Maritime transportation is critical for the transportation of a significant strategic product that the entire world cannot live without right now: oil. The ocean, for example, is used to convey the oil requirements of the United States, Europe, and Japan. Every year, billions of tons of commodities are transported by fleets of oil tankers, cargo ships, and container ships. Container ships, which transport goods in containers, are the kings of the marine transportation of manufactured goods. You might think this is a fantastic chance as long as these ships reach their destination without causing a shipwreck or an oil spill that harms the fauna.
There are several examples of irreparable harm, despite all efforts to remove oil from the sea. When oil leaks into the water by mistake, it can cause major difficulties. Oil spills may impact negatively on marine life, ruin the beaches and make seafood unsafe to eat. Cleaning up the oil, measuring the pollution’s effects, and assisting the ocean’s recovery all require strong research.
Who among us doesn’t appreciate diving, visiting, and swimming with these magnificent marine creatures?
Despite the pleasure of being in the marine space next to them, the love and enthusiasm that these visitors, tourists, and sea workers might have can have catastrophic implications.
Boats, fish watching, which results in pursuing and disturbing their course, as well as pollution from dumped garbage or oil in the water, all harm our most beautiful marine parks, which are highly sought after by the tourism industry.
Despite repeated warnings, marine biodiversity remains in jeopardy, owing mostly to the intensity of human activities (overfishing, pollution, and global warming, to name a few). Efforts to establish sustainable solutions that contribute to the protection of marine animals must be made as soon as possible.
At a time when biodiversity, seas, and oceans are all under threat, raising public awareness has become a critical goal!
Because oceans span 71 percent of the earth’s surface and are home to significant species and ecosystems that we rely on for food, livelihood, climate regulation, and other reasons, they are fundamentally resource-rich. Nonetheless, the oceans require our immediate protection and care today. Man has exhausted this crucial resource with critically endangered species as a result of overfishing, pollution, carbon footprint, and other issues.
This is why, the theme for World Oceans Day 2022 observed on June 8 as part of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Sciences for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) is “Revitalizing the Oceans via Collective Action” (Lisbon conference, June 27 – July 1, 2022).
Oceans Day spotlights the communities, ideas, and solutions that are working together to protect and restore the ocean and all that it sustains, reminding us of the ocean’s importance as a source of life around the world. If we all act together to avoid ocean becoming resource-poor, we can make a huge difference!