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By Evelyn Pallotta
Humanity has immense challenges with the loss of productivity and conservation of the oceans and seas, those great reservoirs of water that day by day contribute in solidarity with the human species, which regulate the world climate and provide food, sustainable livelihoods for many , recreation scenarios and even elements of inspiration for others. These large reservoirs of water called seas and oceans are influenced and their productivity impacted by human activities that obviously take place on the coasts and not so obviously develop upstream, since the sea is the great collector of all the rivers that flow into it.
Unquestionably we have entered the Age of Environment; the climate, the water and the energy mark our lives and remind us every day that what you give to the earth, it gives back to you. Humanity has immense challenges with the loss of productivity and conservation of the oceans and seas, those great reservoirs of water that day by day contribute in solidarity with the human species, which regulate the world climate and provide food, sustainable livelihoods for many , recreation scenarios and even elements of inspiration for others.
And it is that some of the aspects that generate the changes in the populations of the different seafood are perceptible while others pass "crouched" before the gaze of all, increasingly reducing the yields of the waters. A warrior fisherman native to Barlovento, with a marked experience in fishing, Foster, warns me that "now you put your hand into the sea and it's hot"; another, while listening attentively to his work colleague and nodding his head affirming what Foster was saying, told me, “now I have to go an hour and a half out to sea to be able to fish: the sardines don't even come close to the coast anymore. The contamination of what the clubs dump and the amount of water that comes down from the polluted rivers cause a death of fish, sometimes there is a stench on the coast and people do not know what it is, because it turns out that they are dead molluscs ”, and Astudillo, as if traveling and delving into his past, seemed to think that the past was better and exposes “those were the times of Pérez Jiménez when I was fishing, they knocked him down and I didn't even know it. That night I was catching fish, fishing quietly in my rock when I heard some rockets ... ". In truth, from the practices known as fishing gear to the effects of greenhouse gases have their aliquot of impact on the productivity of the sea.
Inappropriate fishing practices for all seafood inexorably affect their productivity. In Venezuela we have made progress in this regard with the legal regulation of trawling. The new fishing law, after considering a one-year transition period -until March 2009-, regulated companies and boats that practiced trawling, promoting their migration to other forms of marine productivity and allowing them to replace the species of all kinds that had been extracted from the bowels of the sea, without taking into account their stage of development, which resulted in a great loss of juvenile individuals and therefore massive losses of the populations of marine species. Despite these legal advances, we do not have an effective system for measuring, publishing and disseminating the effects and advances that the implementation of this legislation would have had.
These large reservoirs of water called seas and oceans are influenced and their productivity impacted by human activities that obviously take place on the coasts and not so obviously develop upstream, since the sea is the great collector of all the rivers that flow into it. The most vulnerable marine ecosystems are the first biological indicators that acknowledge receipt of the impacts, the lack of environmental responsibility, the coral reefs among them, which are organisms that serve as the settlement of the food chain of much of the marine fauna and place of reproduction of many commercial species. These are very susceptible to the negative impact of pollution by untreated sewage, overfishing, increases in temperature and acidity of the waters due to the effects of greenhouse gases, excesses in tourism, hot water discharges resulting from the operation of generating plants of electricity, salinity changes and cloudiness of the waters, product of the erosion and drag of particles caused by the deforestation of mangroves and vegetation burning.
One of the most unknown sources of productivity of the seas and oceans by our population is the plankton or microorganisms of plant origin and that in the animal trophic chain that constitutes the primary nutritional element of the fish in their larval phase, these to the juvenile fish and these in turn to adults. The growth and presence of the plankton population is the result of the interrelation of variables that range from the temperatures of the seas to the presence of chemical pollutants, through the degree of acidity, turbidity and dilution of the chemical elements in the sea.
Climate change and greenhouse gases
The so-called climate change product of the “crouched” but growing presence in the atmosphere of greenhouse gases generated by the increase in logging and indiscriminate burning to occupy the territory, garbage dumps, vehicle gas leaks, among others, is increasingly identified by people and constitutes one of the elements that contribute to the decrease in marine productivity. These gases generate potential changes in the degree of acidity of the seas, their temperature, the dilution of their salts and their level.
The acidification of the seas, a product of the increasing presence of CO2, affects the subsistence of coral reefs. The scientific publication Science establishes that studies carried out by the University of Qeensland, Australia, report that 98% of the sea will be impacted, with one third of atmospheric CO2 being absorbed, progressively polluting it and affecting coral reefs. Of these, those located in the Caribbean Sea will be one of the first affected by 2050 and therefore everything that depends on their presence.
These negative impacts of greenhouse gases not only constitute a certain threat to marine populations and human communities that have settled on the coasts, they also threaten the productivity of countries when the impacts on some environmental parameters may vary the levels of the sea and the infrastructures, the communities that inhabit them and the activities carried out in them are displaced.
Evelyn Pallotta - Biologist. Ecologist. Specialist in environmental analysis. Currently she works as General Director of Ecology and Environment of Miranda, Venezuela.