The Arctic Ocean: Can We Keep It Protected?
The Care2 campaign team is currently running a petition to stop commercial fishing interests from moving further into the Arctic Ocean. With the Arctic sea ice rapidly diminishing, commercial fishing interests see it as an opportunity to expand their operations, this time into the domain of animals such as polar bears, walruses and sea lions–animals who are already endangered by their diminishing habitat.
All those concerned with stopping this from happening, please visit this link to sign the relevant petition.
But something is missing here. With the population of humans growing, and the population of fish in the oceans lessening, the question persists: how can people expect a continual supply of fish to eat, without the fishing vessels going further and further into currently untouched waters? These are the only places where there are still fish. According to Dr. Will Tuttle’s masterful book, “The World Peace Diet,” “all of the 17 major global fisheries are depleted or in serious decline.”
Wherever commercial fishing occurs, it is a tragedy. “Huge trawlers deploy nets that reach to the ocean floor and bring up virtually everything in their path.” As well as the fish that end up in the supermarkets and on plates in restaurants, there is an additional 25 million tons of sea animals each year that are pulled up by nets and thrown back into the sea, often dead or dying. This consists of all sorts of fish, turtles, dolphins, sea birds and other animals, approximately a third of the total catch. Three hundred thousand sea turtles are killed annually by commercial long-line fishing operations.* That doesn’t even include those who are caught by nets.
As a result of our raping of the oceans, other animals are threatened as well. Sea lions, seals, whales and dolphins suffer and often starve because their food supplies are being plundered by an expanding human population that is never satisfied; always hungry for more.
Contrary to popular belief, fish is also one of the most toxic foods that we eat. Our human culture produces millions of tons of toxins, from excessive animal manure and pesticides to toxic and even radioactive waste. Sooner or later, all of these poisons are eventually washed into the oceans. When marine animals ingest plant material that is laden with toxins, these substances build up in their fatty tissues, growing to higher and higher concentrations as they move up the food chain. That is why pregnant or nursing mothers are frequently advised to avoid eating fish, as the concentrations of mercury and other heavy metals can be detrimental to the development of a new baby.
If fishing were allowed in the Arctic Ocean, it would be exceptionally tragic, because the animals and the rest of the eco-system there are unique and so threatened already by the melting ice. So please, sign the petition to keep the Arctic protected from fishing. It’s bad enough that we allow this daily tragedy to occur in the rest of the planet’s waters, without allowing it to spread even into the most pristine of marine eco-systems. But if you are wondering what else you can do to stop this insanity, there is another way an individual can help, and that is by sparing the life of a fish and choose the vegetarian option instead. This is the 21st century after all, and the options are limitless. This choice brings with it a wonderful reward: that of having a clear conscience, and knowing that when you hear about the destructive practices of the fishing industry, you can say to yourself, with peace of mind and heart, “They’re not doing it for me.”
*Longline fishing is a commercial fishing technique that uses hundreds or even thousands of baited hooks hanging from a single line.
Statistics and facts from "The World Peace Diet: Eating for Spiritual Health" by Will Tuttle, PhD. Lantern Books, 2005.