Oceans in trouble

Oceans are a key driver of the climate processes that make Earth inhabitable. Fish are an important protein source for people everywhere.

About 100 million people who live along coastlines of tropical developing countries earn their livelihood from the sea. Caribbean coral reefs alone generate over $4 billion in services from fisheries, tourism, and coastal protection.

We’re killing our oceans through consumption and pollution. Oceanographer Sylvia Earle estimates about 100 million tons of wildlife are pulled from the sea annually.

Commercial fishing boats catch virtually everything that swims by in gill nets that act as invisible underwater fences or on 60-mile longlines. Some are unintended victims: young or low-value fish, seabirds, marine mammals and sea turtles are tossed overboard, dead or dying-about 30 million tons of wasted life.

High-impact fishing methods are rapidly emptying the sea, disrupting food chains fine-tuned over millions of years. They have essentially eliminated the easy-to-catch dinner table fish, pushing fishing operations farther out into the deep ocean where species are more fragile.

Heavy nets used by industrial bottom trawlers ravage crucial habitat, ripping up sea grasses and coral forests that are up to 2,000 years old. Water quality grows ever-poorer, fouled by a witch’s brew of pollutants running off the land or dumped at sea.

Nutrients, mostly fertilizers and sewage, have created 146