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The Living Oceans are Dying

Updated on November 29, 2014

Why are There Declining Fish Stocks?

At the rate we are destroying life in the oceans one must wonder what is wrong with our thinking? Animal and plants we depend on are being driven to extinction and most of the world appears to think that this is OK. A recent ban on fishing in parts of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia has met with some horrible reactions from fishermen and others who simply don't get it.

There are some disturbing facts coming to light about how fish stocks are being decimated and that the oceans will die unless we stop overfishing. But that is not the only problem facing the world's oceans The bigger ones are pollution, climate change, global warming and overpopulation.

Put them together and we have little chance of stopping humanity from what they are doing. If I can add my voice to the millions who are already on the case then that's a good thing but if you add yours to it as well then that is even better.

Pictured is the Pacific Ocean Rubbish Dump. Note the dead fish floating along with the junk, which is mostly plastic.

FREE e-book on Norma's Reincarnation Experience

Shark Predators or Environmental Stewards

The role of Sharks in the ocean environment

People get eaten by sharks, killed by stingrays, stung by jellyfish and poisoned by octopus and stone fish when swimming or exploring the sea and coastine. This might lead some to think that these creatures need to go and that we will be better off without them. But the ocean is there for us to treat with respect and these mishaps, accidents or events are reminders that we cannot take nature for granted.. We might be peeved about predators and the risk we take when we enter their domain but what do they think of us?

Sharkfin FD4000 Spinning Reel
Sharkfin FD4000 Spinning Reel

This is a great spinning reel for the sport fishermen. The ease of operation and the reliability are just two of its amazing features.


Sharks are listed as enemy number 1 when it comes to ocean predators but that is because we have little understanding of the immensely important role they play in that environment. In Australian waters they are largely protected but that does not stop people from Asia and elsewhere invading the regions around the coast and hacking off the fins of some of these poor creatures and returning them to the sea to drown. The reason is the money they get when sold to places like China where shark fin soup is a high priced item on restaurant menus.

If the fishermen involved had their way they would take all they could carry while giving little or no thought for how the species will survive. Sharks are also caught on long lines and in nets and are a valuable food source. So why should they not be protected in a more sustainable way? Is it really necessary for people to eat their fins, which have little nourishment but is a hang over from old practices? They woould surely get the same results if they boiled up the fish bones after the flesh is removed,

Wikipedia notes: "Shark finning refers to the removal and retention of shark fins, accompanied by the discarding of the rest of the shark body into the ocean. These sharks then die from their injuries, suffocation, or are eaten because they are unable to move normally. Shark finning while at sea enables fishing vessels to increase profitability and increase the number of sharks harvested, as they only have to store and transport the fins, by far the most profitable part of the shark".

It also states that shark finning has greatly increased over the last ten years. It further notes that this is the greatest threat to the survuval of the species according to wildlife conservationists. Is anyone stopping this horrible trade? No!

What's Your Opinion?

Should shark fins be harvested and the animals left to die?

See results

Shark Finning - This is a live shark being butchered

My Research and Fins

When taken back to the origin of language and religion there was Mother God or as we know it - the sun. This celestial body was and still is full of mystery and power, It can give life and take it. It shines sometimes and fails to appear at others.It can beat you into submission and drive you insane if you are caught in it without protection. It also burns and causes severe injury. In fact, it is a mighty power and when primitive man was working things out there was only one thing to do - respect and worship it.

It created the moods and temperaments that formed mythologies based on sun worship. But the sun has other qualities. She sends her image down to earth to hide in the water and the sea. It sends symbols, such as the cross, the perpetually moving rainbow lights, and the little fairies of light that appear in in water drops where all these symbols can be seen. This is where the notion of angels comes from.

Ancient suspicions and highly superstitous minds cunjured up all types of scenarios that were used to understand its moods and to find ways on how to please it to avoid its wrath. They developed special worship prayers and stories that satisfied what they were seeing around them. Included here is the reflection of the sun in the sea. Ius image n the wate was to the ancient mind the persona of Mother God believed to iive there as well as in the sky.

Go back a few hundred years and you would know that the sky was considered an extension of the sea which enabled the sun to leave the sky and sail across the seas in her special vehicles of transport. Her chief symbol is the circle, the shape of the sun's outline. Many sea creatures depict the circle in their shapes, such as the turtle. The Maya considered the turtle represents the Creative Mother God and wrote how the earth stands on them as they hold it aloft.

Fins, on the other hand, are not exactly circles but unless you know what they are they give the appearance of one. When I traced back the sounds that make up language the term 'f-i-n' translates as 'living eye of power'. Other terms like 'd-o-l' are translatable as 'feeding the circle of God'. Put the two together as 'dol-fin' you see 'dolphin', and this cresture is forever creating circles as it leaps from the water and dives again.

Other terms came from things like 'S-or-t' which means 'living sun's cross'. Now [t] and [k[ are interchangeable and 'sort' is the same as 'sork'. Add [h[. a late addition to language and you have 'shork' which is the same as 'shark' (vowels were unstable until recent times).

It was considered that by eating the fin of the shark you were consuming the power of the Mother god. This was then taken to increase sexual urges and pleasure. Only certain men could partake of this treat and Shark Truth notes that in China "shark fin soup was created by an emperor in the Sung Dynasty (AD 968) who wanted to show how powerful, wealthy and generous he was to his banquet guests. Serving the expensive dish came to be seen as a sign of respect."

Demon Fish: Travels Through the Hidden World of Sharks
Demon Fish: Travels Through the Hidden World of Sharks

Knowledge is everything when it comes to understanding how and why people do things. Sharks are vital for ocean health and this story examines the pros and cons of shark hunting and the life of the animal.


Should Governments Take a Stand?

Facts about Long Lines

Factories at Sea

Pictured here is a German factory ship or fish processing vessel. Its purpose is to process and freeze fish caught in the oceans. Acording to Wikipedia (thanks for the image) there are some 38,400 such vessels over 100 tons now working. They are automated and enlarged versions based on the old whalers.

They also act as mother ships for fleets of smaller vessels. Russia, Korea, Japan and the USA have all operated these vessels but their use is declining. They are up to 60 to 70 meters in length and can stay at sea for six weeks or longer. They carry smaller fishing vessels within their hull that go out to catch the fish. They have a crew of around 35, according to Wkipedia, and they process the catch within hours of it being caught.

The largest factory ship is 144 meters long and is currently working off the Canadian coast. Her capacity is to process 350 tonnes of fish a day and she carries 3,000 tonnes of fuel while it can also carry up to 7.000 tons of fish that have been graded and frozen.

People Hunger for More than Fish

There is a horrible trait in humans that make them want more. Although they might have everything they need for a happy life their imagination kicks in when they see what others have that they don't. If you are a fisherman you would be eyeing the big trawlers and aiming to get one. The big trawlers must be making a killing and so will you if only you had the means. At the moment you feel like you are fishing in a small fishig bowl and you want to play with the big guys.

But you do have the means - it's called credit. Off you go and soon you have a huge trawler, but what about the mortgage, You will need an awful lot of fish to make this investment pay dividends. Then there is the crew as you can't sail it on your own. Now you have radar to find the schools of fish, you have massive nets and long lines to better catch them and you have instant freezing on board to help you preserve them until they get to market. That means you can travel further, hunt more of the ocean and stay out longer.

There are a lot of shortcuts you can take now to secure your future. Shark fins pay huge dividends so why not haul a few aboard, get their fins and toss them back. It doesn't concern you that these animals are still alive as what can you do about it? If you keep them they will just fill up your holding capacity with unwanted stuff when your real prize is in the best quality fish.

The nets are superb and so is the radar. Tou can now spot fish deep in the ocean and from a fair way away. As you approach you can set traps along their runs as the schools migrate along currents. There is no way they will escape. You take the lot plus whatever else is caught in the net. Migrating with the fish are predators dependent on them for food. That includes dolphins, turtles, sharks, dugongs and other things. When the nets come aboard the boat these things have all drowned so you just toss them back into the ocean.

The nets have also scraped along the bottom and picked up some shellfish which are unwanted and tossed back, usually dead. Scollaps are included among the catch but you can't take anything other than what you are licensed for so back they go as well. The nets have also altered the landscape of the ocean bed. They have stirred up the mud on the bottom, dragged out the sea grasses and killed a lot of things dependent on them. But what do you care? The ocean is a big place and you haven't done that much damage to it.

It's time to get your catch in now as the hole is full. Besides there are a couple of other trawlers visible on the horizon. They are about to do the same thing as you have done. What do you care?

You pull in at the quay to unload and people are admiring your boat and all the fish you unload. You feel proud and now you will sleep well knowing that the mortgage on the boat is paid and you have increased your bank balance by several thousands of dollars. Well done, you think to yourself as you get into your car and drive back to your young family. "one day my son will be able to do this." You think this to yourself as you driive along.

A Good Catch of Herring

Predatory Fish

Is it a Good Thing?

Do you think we should be killing off sea predators?

See results

Ocean Food Chain

The ocean is a major food chain for all sea creatures, It starts with the big fish eating the smaller ones and they in turn the smaller ones again. Finally there are those that feed on phytoplankton (Greek meaning plant wanderer), or algae. If we take this chain from the top layer down we see how the food suply works to sustain the life dependent on it..

On the land there are plants and trees that absorb carbon dioxide from the air and turn it into simple sugars. That is stored in fruit that is eaten by animals. In the ocean the CO2 is absorbed by phytoplankton (pictured) which is abundant and hangs out on the top layer of the water where sunlight aids in the transformation. It is usually here where small fish and animals consume this luscious fruit so it is also where most of them hang out. That makes them easy to spot by those who feed on them.

The tiny plankton microbes are responsible for half of the oxygen produced by plants globally as a result of photosynthesis. They also produce chlorophyl which gives the ocean its blue/green colours. Krill (tiny shrimp like crustaceans) feed on this product and they, in turn, are the main food source for the baleen whales. These tiny plants are also dependent on supplies of minerals, that is nitrate. phopsphates and silciic acid, called macronutirents, the supply of which is dependent on the so-called biological pump and the upwelling of deep, nutrient rich waters.

There are over 5.000 known species of phytoplankton and some have measurable effects on cloud condensation nuclieii or cloud formation and cover. It has been discovered that since 1950 these little plants have declined by something like 40%. This may be due to global warming but there are other causes as well.

When there is an oil spill or other pollutant at work, such as the garbage dump pictured in the Introduction, the light is cut off and the plant systems eventually collapse. This can and does result in less fish for humans to eat.

After the krill come the small fish that feed on them and the bacteria that pervades the oceans. Then larger fish up the line to the sharks, whales, dolphins and so on. Take one of these links out of the chain and the overbreeding of a particular level of fish, no longer predated upon, allows it to saturate that level. The result is it eats up all the smaller fish below it who, in turn, would eat the plankton and bacteria. Result is slime, red algae and death to entire schools of fish and other ocean life.

This has already happened with vast numbers of fish dying off the coast of Africa. Here the sea turned red and the amount of polluting surface oil and other things is possibly the reason. Fish kills like this have been recorded recently in other areas as well and the concensus is that the oceans are now struggling to sustain the life within them.

A River Fish Kill

This was the result after a paper mill dicharged chemical laden effluent into the Pearl River in Bogolusa, LA.

We Are All Guilty.

If you have ever used chemical cleaning agents in your home, have anything plastic for storage, drink from plastic bottles, drive a boat or a motor car then you are polluting the ocean. Many look at the size of the ocean and the world for that matter with a view that it is too big for individuals to damage. So they do not bother to even think about what they are doing.

According to this source: "Dumping of highly radioactive wastes at sea has been banned worldwide for more than three decades, still it has been revealed that Russia (the former Soviet Union) has been dumping highly radioactive materials in the Arctic Sea (more precisely the Barents Kara Seas) since the late 1950s."

Plastic Waste Disposal

Clean Ships Clean Ports Clean Oceans: Controlling Garbage and Plastic Wastes at Sea
Clean Ships Clean Ports Clean Oceans: Controlling Garbage and Plastic Wastes at Sea

What is happening to clean up the mess in the oceans. This book highlights proposals and actions and better, cleaner ways for countries to act now if the waters we depend on will survive.


Meanwhile the Pacific rubbish dump encompasses an area twice the size of the United Staes of America. It comprises a mix of anything plastic from toys to household goods, carrier bags, plastic bottles and so on. This dump is growing in size at an enormous rate and washing onto beaches, killing sea and land life and playing havoc with the environment. It is held in place by swirling currents and is in the form of two dumps, eastern and western Pacific.

It's not just fish being affected by this but birds and land animals. Many have been observed feeding plastic to their young or eating it themselves in the belief that it is food. Many bottle tops look like small crustaceans, cigarette lighters look like food to the albatross and baby birds dead with these things in their gut is a heartwrenching sight. One wonder what it is that prevents humans from stopping this. Why can't we declare war on polluters and hold them to account? We do it for other things but in this we are as stupid and naïve as the next one. We must stop it and NOW!

Plastic Ocean Dump

Plastic Ocean: How a Sea Captain's Chance Discovery Launched a Determined Quest to Save the Oce ans
Plastic Ocean: How a Sea Captain's Chance Discovery Launched a Determined Quest to Save the Oce ans

A ship's captain writes about his experience in the plastic ocean dump in the pacific. Quote: " From milk jugs to polymer molecules small enough to penetrate human skin or be unknowingly inhaled, plastic is now suspected of contributing to a host of ailments including infertility, autism, thyroid dysfunction, and some cancers". Great read.

Nurdles from Wikipedia Open Source
Nurdles from Wikipedia Open Source

Other Dangers Left in the Sea

Humans are filthy creatures when it comes to cleaning up after themselves. Pictured are nurdles These small plastic pellets, also called mermaid tears, are the raw ingredient in plastic manufacture. They enter the environment through accidental spillage.

Fishermen may be among the worst polluters because of what they leave behind. In the rush to get their catch on board and back to market it is incredible what they discard or overlook. The plastic bag they used to take their lunch with them is no longer required, nor is the cigarette lighter that is out of fuel, or the plastic drinking mug, and so on, These are all tossed overboard as well as a heap of rubbish from liners and other things,. Wikipedia notes: "Fishing nets left or lost in the ocean by fishermen - ghost nets - can entangle fish, dolphins, sea turtles, sharks, dugongs, crocodiles, seabirds, crabs, and other creatures. {They} restrict movement, causing starvation, laceration and infection, and, in animals that need to return to the surface to breathe, suffocation.

The Things We Discard

Flotsametrics and the Floating World: How One Man’s Obsession with Runaway Sneakers and Rubber Ducks Revolutionized Ocean Science
Flotsametrics and the Floating World: How One Man’s Obsession with Runaway Sneakers and Rubber Ducks Revolutionized Ocean Science

Plastic in all forms creates ocean flotsam. This book highlights the passionate works of scientists like David Suzuki who have campaigned for years on environmental issues. This author has produced a very enjoyable read but one that must get to the heart of the matter.


Nurdles are extremely dangerous and resemble fish eggs, eaten by many marine creatures. Small plastic frgaments are also created from larger plastic particles through weathering and other things. About half the plastic sinks to the bottom of the ocean where it affects other vulnerable creatures.

Still images from Dreamstime - click here

© 2012 norma-holt

Before You Leave

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    • flinnie lm profile image

      Gloria Freeman 

      5 years ago from Alabama USA

      Hi you have a lot of helpful information here. Great lens, thanks for sharing.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Excellent lens. Very informative lens through clever quizzes... Enjoyable and fun,

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Thank you for featuring my Whales, Dolphins, Sea Creatures Coloring Pages Books lens on here. I will return the favor and feature this lens there. I posted it on Google+ and Facebook. :)

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 

      6 years ago from Southampton, UK

      Delete this comment - Quiz 10 the question is repeated twice. Last %age is wrong - typo. How much does a shark fin sell for? "S" on last option not "$". Hope this helps :)

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 

      6 years ago from Southampton, UK

      Excellent information, it's so sad how our oceans are mis-used, for the most part through man's greed.

    • retro-gamer profile image


      6 years ago from Michigan

      I enjoyed the lens and with my concern for all things with the environment and planet, I feel that greed, lack of education, laziness and not thinking of the future generations has created many of the problems with the planet and with other species.

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      6 years ago from Canada

      Twice this week I have seen shows on television on plastic in marine birds. I also saw one on the incoming Japan Tsunamia garbage hitting our shores. It is absolutely unbelievable the garbage that is now in our oceans and killing local marine life. It is horrible what man creates.

    • ForestBear LM profile image

      ForestBear LM 

      6 years ago

      This is such an important topic, thank you so much for sharing. Fantastic lens

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      This is a great lens, an eye-opener for everyone.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      This makes me so angry when we stay at our beach and find all the dead fish that trawlers abandon.

    • goo2eyes lm profile image

      goo2eyes lm 

      6 years ago

      blessings!this lens really deserves the purple star. congratulations. thank you also for sending me a personal message and especially for all your blessings.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Powerful information that everyone should read. Thank you for publishing this lens.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      A very sobering study you have done here, beautifully presented and excellent in every way to draw attention and teach about the living oceans and their creatures dying.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Very informative. Thank you

    • cinefile profile image


      6 years ago

      Excellent lens topic!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Thank you for raising awareness of these important issues. I loved your lens.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Excellent lens - informative and fun! It made my day!

      Thanks for sharing and learning experience!

    • Jadelynx-HP profile image

      Tracey Boyer 

      6 years ago from Michigan

      Totally awesome lens ! Thanks so much for making and sharing all this great information.

    • gatornic15 profile image


      6 years ago

      What an informative lens!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Outstanding lens. Very educational, very important.

    • top-notch-shop profile image


      6 years ago

      Good lens

    • top-notch-shop profile image


      6 years ago

      Good lens

    • Rangoon House profile image


      6 years ago from Australia

      Your statistics are alarming.

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 

      6 years ago from United States

      This is a very informative article! We can only hope millions of people will read it, take it to heart and take action to help. So often people do things harmful without thinking or knowing the consequences. I would like to believe people really care once informed. Thank you for writing this article!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      It's a cruel human world where all the humans do are think about themselves.. You have definitely added one voice to this lens..

    • MelonyVaughan profile image


      6 years ago

      Thank you for sharing your knowledge on this important topic.

    • chezchazz profile image


      6 years ago from New York

      Hi Norma - thanks for adding angel dust to my calamari salad recipe lens and featuring it on this wonderful lens. Greatly appreciated.


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