We don’t necessarily realize it, but much of the food we eat comes directly from the oceans. French society is not one of the biggest consumers of seafood, but in some regions of the world, most of the food comes from the ocean. In fact, worldwide, 1 billion people depend almost entirely on fishing for their protein intake. It is estimated that almost 2.9 billion people depend on it for up to 20% of their protein intake.
Without these resources, a large part of the world’s population, especially in developing countries, islands and coastal areas, would be undernourished. The problem is that today, humanity over-consumes certain species of fish or certain marine species and that this has very serious consequences on the balance of marine ecosystems. Thus, some species are endangered because we do not allow time for fish stocks to regenerate. Over the past 100 years, the world’s oceans have lost around two-thirds of their large fish (tunas, groupers, sharks and other predatory fish), and it is estimated that one-third of all marine life is overfished or overfished.
How to act?
- First avoid overfishing, but also pollution of the oceans which affects the ability of marine life to renew itself. But for that, we need binding international regulations. As a consumer, this means:
- Avoid consuming endangered species (wild salmon, cod, tuna, sea bass, sea bream …)
- Favor sustainable fishing methods (see our article: How is your fish caught? What fishing methods are sustainable? )
- Favor fish species whose renewal is still guaranteed (mackerel, sardines, herring, wolf, and others
The ocean absorbs a large part of the CO2 that we release into the atmosphere. In other words, it acts as a regulator of our climate: it absorbs part of the CO2 that we emit (about a quarter) and stores it deep down. How? ‘Or’ What ? Thanks to phytoplankton which absorbs CO2! In other words, without the ocean, there would be 25% more CO2 in the atmosphere, which means that global warming would be even more pronounced than it is currently. The problem is that the more carbon the ocean absorbs, the less it can absorb new carbon: it becomes saturated.
If we emit too much CO2, the ocean will eventually no longer be able to absorb it, and the climate may run out of steam.
Above all, the main reason that should push us to protect the ocean is that it is a fragile resource and that it is extremely complex to repair. For example, cleaning up the ocean during an oil spill is almost impossible since it is very complex to contain pollution. In the same way, when we pollute the ocean with plastic waste, it is quickly broken into micro-particles which are then ingested by fish and other marine animals
If we do not take care of the ocean, all the resources it contains that allow human societies and ecosystems to function risk being degraded. And since we depend on the ocean for all aspects of our lives, it is time that we take it a little more.