Live from Pop!Tech: For Ocean Health, "Climate Change More Important than Fishing Practices"


above right image (c) 2005 Bob Wilson

Reporting from Pop!Tech...catch it live here! More smarties than you can shake a stick at in beautiful Camden, Maine for 3 days.

From what TreeHugger understands, lots of the sustainability focus around the oceans has been focused on better fishing practices. Marcia McNutt, head of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), shared with us that, in her opinion, climate change should be a bigger concern than fishing practices. As a result, her organization now spends 50% of their budget in that direction.

She explains that climate change will affect many aspects of the oceans. For example (from least impact to worst):1) The temperature change will raise sea levels.

2) The ocean circulation patterns will shift, thereby reducing its productivity.

3) The chemistry of the ocean will become more acidic (PH is up 30% already).

In addition, she suggests that ocean acidification will be a larger problem than global warming. Among other things, MBARI is doing research into what happens as our oceans get more and more acidic, as well as what antidotes might be applied e.g. iron fertilization -- see TreeHugger's coverage of Plantos' efforts here, here and here for more on that.

What can I do, you say? We thought you'd never ask. Here are a few things that we believe Marcia would suggest:

1) Read Collapse by Jared Diamond to help set the context.

2) Get and use those little pocket fish guides (like the ones from Monterey Bay Aquarium, Marine Conservation Society or Oceans Alive. Some are now also available on your cell phone) to vote with your dollars. And don't be shy, tell your friends.

3) Eat less and smaller fish. This is also better for your health, as the bad stuff bio-accumulates as you eat higher on the food chain.

See more of TreeHugger's coverage of MBARI here, here and here, and stay tuned for more from Maine. ::Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and ::Pop!Tech

Tags: Fishing | Maine

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