Famous oceanographer calls for global fishing ban to save Earth’s ‘blue heart’ – The Hill

The story at a glance

  • Renowned oceanographer Sylvia Earle told the global climate talks this week that world leaders should ban industrial fishing.
  • Industrial fishing has depleted marine life at an alarming rate, the United Nations said in 2018.
  • Earle has spent more than 7,000 hours underwater and holds the record for the deepest free dive by a woman.

World leaders must ban industrial fishing to preserve the ocean, an essential weapon in the fight against climate change, marine biologist and oceanographer Sylvia Earle said this week.

Earle, 86, spoke at the COP26 world climate conference in Glasgow this week, taking part in panel discussions with politician and environmentalist Al Gore and US climate envoy John Kerry, among others.

“It’s priority number 1, because we have the chance, all of a sudden, to save the blue heart of the planet”, she says. “This is where most of the oxygen from the ocean is generated. This is where most of the carbon is absorbed.

The unprecedented growth of the industrial fishing industry has depleted marine life at an alarming rate, and a third of commercial fish populations are being fished at biologically unsustainable levels, according to the United Nations Food and farming. said in a 2018 report.


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“All of this wildlife being pulled from the ocean is not only affecting biodiversity and driving extinctions at an accelerating rate, it’s breaking the carbon cycle – the chain of nutrients that holds the web of life together on Earth,” Earle said.

Earle spent over 7,000 hours underwater and holds a record set in 1979 for the deepest free dive by a woman, descending 1,250 feet. She was the first female chief scientist of the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrationand Time Magazine named her his first Hero for the Planet in 1998.

“It’s frustrating to be able to see the future so clearly, after spending years at sea and thousands of hours under the sea, and to realize that so many people can’t see it,” she said. said Wednesday. “Climate scientists say, ‘Listen, we have about 10 years to make or break our behavior towards nature.’

Earle argued that only a handful of communities depend on marine life for food, but “many more depend on it for money, using wild animals as a source of income.”

A vegetarian who hasn’t eaten fish in at least four decades, Earle said humanity has “misused” the ocean, which she called a “living system, a biogeochemical miracle, which protects us in a universe which has no integrated structure”. in the life support system.


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Posted on November 10, 2021

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