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Monday, October 25, 2010

Canada's Marine ecosystems in trouble

Image: This photo above shows the Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area Reserve  (Source of image:

The Government of Canada  (Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada) has released a report entitled, "2010 CANADIAN MARINE ECOSYSTEM STATUS AND TRENDS REPORT" which you can download in pdf format from the following website: 

This report paints a bleak future for Canada's marine ecosystems!

For example in the report it is stated:

(a) "Biological and ecological effects (e.g. increased natural species mortality, species range expansions and contractions, and changes in fish size, assemblages, and community structure) are occurring; however their impact on ecosystems is not always well understood."

Why has the government not allocated the necessary funds for research into these effects?

(b)Climate change and oceanographic variability are affecting most Canadian marine ecozones. In particular, ocean acidification is known to be impacting several ecozones and is an emerging issue in the others.

If it is known that Ocean acidification is occurring why hasn't the Federal Government of Canada create a plan to reduce this acidification in Canada's oceans?

 A decline in many fish stocks has occurred on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts as a result of commercial overexploitation. Although management measures have been implemented for most species, recovery has been limited in most cases.

I ask why the Federal Government and the provinces which have been involved in this overexploitation worked to create some sort of plan to stop fisherman and fishing companies from overfishing these areas of Canada?

 Legacy contaminants, like polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) and
dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) for example, are decreasing, however the incidence of emerging contaminants (e.g. brominated flame retardants) are becoming an issue in most ecozones.

What is being done by all levels of Canadian Government to determine and address these new contaminants  which have started to affect Canadian ecosystems?

 Industry and development have, or are threatening to, impact most ecosystems. The coastal zone is particularly vulnerable and is of concern as these areas are considered highly productive ecosystems.

This report goes as far to state the following:

"Declines in dissolved oxygen concentration, particularly in deeper waters (200-300 m) have been noted over the last 25 years."

According to my research, these declines have not only been found in Canada's oceans but also in areas such as the Gulf of Mexico (see:  ).  Carl Zimmer a science writer for this website, suggests that these changes are due to "Agricultural runoff",  "global warming", and "acidification" of the oceans.

 As stated by Carl Zimmer at this website:

"Scientists point to two reasons to expect a worldwide drop in ocean oxygen. One is the simple fact that as water gets warmer, it can hold less dissolved oxygen. The other reason is subtler. The entire ocean gets its oxygen from the surface — either from the atmosphere, or from photosynthesizing algae floating at the top of the sea. The oxygen then spreads to the deep ocean as the surface waters slowly sink."

  "Global warming is expected to reduce the mixing of the ocean by making surface seawater lighter. That’s because in a warmer world we can expect more rainfall and more melting of glaciers, icebergs, and ice sheets. Since freshwater is less dense than salt water, the water at the ocean’s surface will become lighter. The extra heat from the warming atmosphere will also make surface waters expand — and thus make them lighter still. The light surface water will be less likely to sink — and thus the deep ocean will get less oxygen. Instead, more of the oxygen will linger near the surface, where it will be used up by oxygen-breathing organisms."

When Carl Zimmer suggests in this article that scientists are having trouble understanding why  these two factors are occurring, this certainly is alarming to me! It suggests that Governments of countries in this World should find the financial and human resources to learn why these two factors are occurring, instead of spending money on things which are less important than this issue!

As pointed out by Carl Zimmer, "unless we find a way to rein in our carbon emissions very soon, a low-oxygen ocean may become an inescapable feature of our planet." If scientists believe oxygen levels are going to be in state of decline for a long time in our World, what does this say about the future of life within these essential elements of our planet?

The findings of the  2010 CANADIAN MARINE ECOSYSTEM STATUS AND TRENDS REPORT make it very obvious what the Government of Canada and Provincial Governments of Provinces must do in the immediate and distant future. These governments must find funds to facilitate much more scientific research concerning Canada's Marine Ecosystems than is going on at the present time. Only if these funds become available and only if these funds are used properly, will Canada's Marine ecosystems be sustainable in the long-term! Global warming is a reality,dollars must be found by the Governments of our World to determine how best to mitigate and deal with this phenomenon before it has a serious and adverse impact on all life on on planet!

Here is an  hour lecture entitled, "Saving the Blue Planet." By Boris Worm  This lecture discusses the need for Marine conservation in our World. I hope you take the time to watch this presentation when you have a chance to. Dr.Boris Worm's  "interests in teaching and research focus on the causes and consequences of changes in marine biodiversity, and its conservation on a global scale."
(source:  )

Source of video: 

To learn more about the  Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area Reserve please visit the following website:

I applaud Parks Canada for  deciding to designate a number of marine environments across Canada to be part of a network of national marine conservation areas in our country!

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Thoughts worth thinking about

"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives."-Sidney Madwed

Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every woman and man present their views without penalty, there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.- Albert Einstein Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia

A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. - Mohammed

Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein

The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Ghandi

The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. - Helen Keller

Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. - Dr. David M. Burns

Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. -His Holiness The Dalai Lama

Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. -

Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw

Ego's trick is to make us lose sight of our interdependence. That kind of ego-thought gives us a perfect justification to look out only for ourselves. But that is far from the truth. In reality we all depend on each other and we have to help each other. The husband has to help his wife, the wife has to help the husband, the mother has to help her children, and the children are supposed to help the parents too, whether they want to or not.-Gehlek Rinpoche Source: "The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 pg. 165

The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.